Acts 6:8-15 (ESV)
Stephen Is Seized
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Telephone. Always a guaranteed way to make kids laugh when you’re looking for a game to pass the time. Start off with a really hard sentence, throw in some random, easily misunderstood words, and whisper it once to a friend and so on. Once you get to the end and you ask the final person to say it out loud, 99% of the time, it’s wrong and a lot funnier than when it started. I’ve noticed that during this game, you get a handful of kids that change the words on purpose, knowing that it wasn’t what they heard but wanting others to believe that it was.
I believe this is kind of what happened with the Jews and Stephen in today’s reading from Acts. “Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people,” yet the Jews did not want to believe or trust in his word. Instead of believing him and trusting him, they started character assassination.
Through this story, we are reminded that just because someone says one thing about you, doesn't mean it is true. Stephen heard these accusations, yet still stayed calm and strong in his faith. Luke says, “Stephen’s face was like the face of an angel,” and everyone who spoke ill of him were proven wrong and shown the truth.
Dear Lord, help us to always see and speak the truth about both others and ourselves. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Amanda Lawler Office and Communications Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org