The religious leaders are up to their old tricks again. Just as in the story of Jesus, Stephen is arrested – this time by the Freedmen.
In this reading from Acts we find a special kind of person, Stephen. He was an evangelist and miracle worker, preaching the gospel and filled with the Spirit of God.
But, to those who were in power Stephen was a threat, just as Jesus was.
There is a strange parallel to this story and that of Christ as we’ll see in the passage below.
The Arrest of Stephen – Bible Study Lesson from Acts 6
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.
But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.
They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.”
And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. – Acts 6:8-15 NASB
Who Were the Freedmen?
Jewish slaves, freed by the Romans made up a group called the Freedmen. They started their own synagogue in Jerusalem and had a modicum of power.
They conspired against Stephen by exposing lies which they knew would upset the Sadducees who were devout in the following of Moses.
Stephen – The Wise Servant
Although many Christians are more educated about other disciples like Peter, Matthew and John, Stephen was a major player in spreading the news about Jesus.
He had great faith and spoke with the power of the Holy Spirit so people listened to what he had to say.
We Have Power Too!
When we become Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit which guides us throughout our Christian life. It’s similar to a conscience because when we stray (or plan to) the voice warns us or convicts us.
Of course we don’t always listen (which is a subject for another time).
Stephen did listen even though he knew there were certain people who would persecute him.
This did not stop him from using his gifts and sharing the message about Christ everywhere he spoke.
Our Talents & Gifts
Just like Stephen, we have talents and gifts. God expects us to use them for His glory.
He puts us in certain situations and gives us work to do based on our spiritual gifts. If we use them for the right purpose, God will give us the power, strength, and tools we need to carry out our mission.
I have been guilty many times of not listening to what God wanted me to do. Sometimes out of fear; sometimes out of greed; or sometimes just ignoring what He had planned.
Let’s pray for ears that hear when God calls. Is anything tugging at your heart today?
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16.