Summary: Let’s see how it begins: •Verse 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. •Stephen is obviously a multi-talented individual. He not only takes care of the widows, but he’s out there on
“Dying to Please Jesus”
The Martyrdom of Stephen
One of great movies of recent years is Amadeus, a mostly fictional account of the life of the great composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
•The story is told from the perspective of Antonio Salieri, a fellow composer.
•As a young boy, Salieri hears stories of the gifted child prodigy Mozart, and he too longs to be a composer ... to make beautiful music ...
•Unfortunately his father, unlike Mozart’s father, does not approve and for years he envies the boy genius.
•Then one day, his whole life is changed. His father chokes on a chicken bone and dies, and Antonio is sent to Vienna to learn music.
•Everything goes well for Salieri. He becomes the court composer for Emperor Joseph II, and it looks like he will fulfill his dreams.
•Then one day Mozart himself, now a grown man, comes to the Emperor’s court, and the emperor and all those around him, become enamored by Mozart.
•Salieri becomes obsessively jealous of Mozart’s incredible gifts, and plots to destroy him.
•He anonymously commissions Mozart to write a requiem, which Mozart comes to believe he is writing for his own dead father. Salieri slowly drives Mozart crazy with this obsession.
The story is a fascinating account of the power of passion – the passion for music – and the power of jealousy.
•Amadeus, Mozart’s middle name, means “Loved by God,” and Salieri cannot accept the unconditional gift of love, music, that God had given Mozart.
•So in his anger and jealously he really turns against God, seeking to destroy the object of God’s favor.
•But jealousy always destroys, and ultimately it drives Salieri to insanity himself.
•The whole movie is told to a priest after Salieri, now an old man, attempts to commit suicide in a sanitarium.
We are continuing our study of Acts this morning, and there is an interesting parallel to the story of Amadeus and to what is happening in the book of Acts.
•God is at work in his Church. He has now offered them the free gift, the Amadeus, of salvation.
•The religious leaders in Jerusalem should rejoice in the gift God has given the Church.
•Instead they see the Church as a threat to their power and prestige, and so they seek to destroy it.
And like Salieri, they are about to lash back once again..
And it will spark the greatest trial yet for the Church
•If you recall, the church has been threatened and harassed; the apostles beaten.
•Now, the greatest trial yet: martyrdom of one of their members.
We pick up our story where we left it last week.
•If you have your Bible turn to Acts 6.
•If you remember a conflict has arisen in the Church between two ethnic groups, the Greek-speaking Jewish Christians, the new kids on the block, were complaining against the Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians because their widows were being neglected
So seven servants are chosen, chosen from the Greek-speaking community itself, to take care of the widows.
•If you recall all seven were Greek-speaking Jewish Christians. They were from the community that was feeling left out.