Updated: Jan 3
NOVEMBER 9, 2021 READINGS... Acts 6:1-8:1a
Today we read about the continued growth of the church. The Apostles needed to have time to prepare to feed the people with the “bread of life,” the Word of God. The church was growing so fast that disputes began to arise among the people. Some felt slighted in being ministered to. So, the Apostles sought the wisdom of God through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. They were led to set some men aside (we call this ordain) to do the work of the ministering to the church, so the Apostles could spend their time in study and prayer. These were the first deacons…the word deacon means servant. To be sure we are all called to be servants, but because of the growth of the church this ministry could not be left to chance as to whether it would be carried out. The church selected men who met the biblical qualifications (see 1 Timothy 3:8-13), who would have the specific responsibility to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of all the people in the church.
One of these deacons was a man named Stephen. The Bible tells us that he was a man filled with God’s grace and power…that God performed miracles through Stephen. The day came when some men began to argue with Stephen, and also accuse him of saying that as a follower of Jesus the Temple would be destroyed and the laws of Moses changed. Stephen stood to speak and the Holy Spirit was so evident in him that the religious leaders saw his face as bright as that of an angel. Stephen began his sermon with Abraham, and from there recounted the history of God working in Israel. He took them through their own history to King David & Solomon, and then he suddenly stops. As if the Holy Spirit reveals to him that the people were not listening to him, nor would they accept or believe what he was sharing. Stephen calls them stubborn…and heathen at heart. He accuses their ancestors of persecuting the prophets of God…and those standing there of killing the Righteous One, the Messiah Jesus. They became filled with rage and shook their fists at him. Stephen looks up to heaven and God reveals His glory to him, and he sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God. They could not take it so they took up stones to kill him…before dying Stephen echoes the words of his Savior Jesus…” Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ And the reading tells us that there was one standing there as a witness and in agreement with this murder…his name was Saul.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW’S READINGS… Acts 8:1b-9:43