What we know about Stephen is contained in the book of Acts.
Acts 6, 7, 8
- Grace, The Spirit, Wisdom, Power
- The first deacon
- He had an abundance of God’s grace
- He could work signs and wonders
- He had great insight into God’s plan.
- The Jewish leaders could not withstand his wisdom and spirit.
- Just like Jesus they brought false witnesses against him.
- He had a face like an angel Matt. 28:2-4- This angel is not a description of angel. Stephen’s face was radiant with peace and joy. 2 Cor. 3:18 – we are being transformed with glory from the Spirit Eccl. 8:1 – A man’s wisdom makes him beam. Psalms 34:4-5 – Looking at God makes our faces radiant. Dan. 12:3 – Those that lead people to God have radiant faces.
- Acts 7 – This is Stephen’s defense. He summarized God’s plan in and pointed out the flaws in the Jewish leaders. In verses 48-60 Stephen’s death is described.
- They were cut to the quick- they were backed into the corner and rather than acknowledging their mistakes, they killed him.
- Acts 8:1-4 -Saul (Paul) was a willing participant. He persecuted and scattered the Christians. Acts 22:20 – Paul probably never forgot it, but Paul was forgiven and became a great missionary of Jesus.
- Stephen was a committed Christian. He was willing to do whatever it took to further the gospel. What is our level of commitment? Heb. 13:5-7 – We must rely on God to help us when we’ve made the commitment. We need to prepare by reading and praying. Romans 12:13 – Be prepared to bless those who persecute you. Romans 8:35-39 – When we have the Spirit, we cannot be separated from God. Pray for courage and boldness.
- Stephen relied on God’s grace. God’s plan is perfect and we must rely on him. Stephen’s death helped spread the gospel throughout the world and to convert Saul.
—Bob Rossow, 1-27-08, a.m.