Summary: Acts is the record of incredible miracles by incredible people. But what if the greatest miracle took place in the lunch line? The guy pushing square pizza and mystery meat shows us that the Holy Spirit can use us too!
Square Pizza and Mystery Meat
On this very important day . . . a day that distinguishes us - on this Pentecost Sunday I want to take you back into the book in which it all started. I want you to join me in Acts 6 & 7 as we talk about Square Pizza and Mystery Meat!
Acts 6:1-5, 8-10; 7:54-60
During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—“Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.” The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose—Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit
Stephen, brimming with God’s grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them. But then some men from the meeting place whose membership was made up of freed slaves, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and some others from Cilicia and Asia, went up against him trying to argue him down. But they were no match for his wisdom and spirit when he spoke.
At that point they went wild, a rioting mob of catcalls and whistles and invective. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed—he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side. He said, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!” Yelling and hissing, the mob drowned him out. Now in full stampede, they dragged him out of town and pelted him with rocks. The ringleaders took off their coats and asked a young man named Saul to watch them. As the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, “Master Jesus, take my life.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.
III. The Lunch Line
There is a major problem with the record of Pentecost! The dilemma is that when you read through the book of Acts from beginning to end the book of Acts reads like a chronicle of super heroes and extraordinary people used by God to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
• Peter preaches at Pentecost and sees 3,000 converted.
• The disciples heal so many people that the sick are brought into the streets so that their shadows might fall on them.
• Philip teleports after preaching the gospel.
• Paul threatens the entire socioeconomic stability of a city with his preaching. Raises a dead kid to life. Survives a stoning. Shipwrecks and survives. And goes to Rome to appear before Caesar and witnesses powerfully.
So as you read Acts you can have the tendency to be taken aback and actually come to the conclusion that even with the Holy Spirit I don't see me in this. This is foreign and out of my reach. These folks aren't human!
But right in the middle of all the studs . . . you have Stephen. Stephen . . . who waits tables for widows. The Holy Spirit power displayed in the account of Pentecost isn't reserved just for instances like the raising the dead, changing a city, or casting out demons. NO, in Stephen's case . . . the power of the Holy Spirit is revealed in the lunch line! In fact, the powerful news today is that Pentecost (the experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit) can turn the lunch lady or in this case the lunch man into a powerhouse of potential for God's glory. Stephen job/role/position of authority was serving square pizza and mystery meat (surely you remember that don't you?) . . . and the account says he (even though no one was writing magazine articles about him, following him on twitter, or asking him for his autograph) was "brimming with God’s grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them." Another version says it like this, "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people."
Stephen, through the Holy Spirit, is producing miracles in the lunch line!
In fact, he is so powerful in the lunch line that the local officials need to shut him up. So they bring up false charges and make him defend himself. In front of the high priest, nonetheless. (The lunch man is called into the principal's office!)