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Acts: Chapter 7

Categories: ActsTags: 3.4 min read
In previous blogs we have tried to explain what we talked about almost verse by verse for each chapter. At the start of Jesus church of new disciples there was so much to do, so many people interested and wanting to be baptised and a growing anger in the ranks of the religious leaders and central government that having had Jesus of Nazareth put to death and having congratulated themselves on getting rid of a serious threat to their reputation among the people of the land, that threat had most definitely come back and a new powerful preacher had come on the scene that none of the priests from the High Priest down were able to argue against. This man Stephen, had a Greek name but was clearly Jewish had a phenomenal knowledge of all their history and their laws and like Jesus, became a target for their violence and their murderous rage. As we arrived at the end of the previous chapter (6) they had paid for men to act as false witnesses against Stephen and taken him before the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court in their land.We found that chapter 7 (Acts 7v1-3) opened with the High Priest asking Stephen if the statements made by these witnesses were true. Stephen seemed to totally ignore the accusations and instead treat his listeners to a history lesson; one which we found gave extra information about some events and people who lived in ancient times that was not in the Old Testament. He told that history very quickly until he came to Moses in Egypt, then he slowed down and began to show that whatever God had done for them as a nation they were almost always ungrateful. Despite constant warnings not to worship idols made by men they made a golden calf to worship just after they had been rescued by God from slavery in Egypt. Stephens audience might have accepted all this as being ‘just history’ but he then finished by telling them that they were no better, in fact worse than their ancestors because they had betrayed and murdered the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The reaction was predictable, Acts 7v54 says “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart and they gnashed on him with their teeth”.

We looked at the following verses and felt sure that ‘Mob Rule’ took over at that point, ending with the death of Stephen by stoning, with the false witnesses casting the first stones. Death by stoning was the permitted form of execution in the Jewish law but we recognised that throwing stones seemed to be a common form of aggression even in our own times.

At the end of his history lesson and his fearless accusation of the Jewish rulers, Stephen made the statement that he saw the heavens opened and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, his father. We remembered that elsewhere in Heb 1v3 we had read that Jesus sat down on the right hand of God his Father, when Stephen saw him standing we felt sure that this showed that Jesus had stood and was watching over the death of his faithful servant.

Some felt that when Stephen made a point of showing how the Jews had rejected Moses when he came to their aid, saying “who made you a ruler and a judge over us?”, he was cleverly showing how the Jewish rulers of his own time had effectively said the same to Jesus when he also had brought salvation to their nation (and to the peoples of the whole world).

Finally we saw the introduction into the book of Acts of a young man who later was going to fill its pages with his work for Jesus. On that fateful day though he was probably organising the action against Stephen and looking after the clothing of those who threw the stones. A quick peep into the next chapter almost confirmed this suspicion but you will need to come back to this site to see that for yourself.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Mark 15

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Read Online: AV NIV Several familiar faces this week, and one new member who dropped because he saw the “A”

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