GOSPEL MEDITATION # 21
Stephen is Seized
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Stephen, a servant in the Church, is a bold preacher. From a Greek culture and a Greek speaker, he boldly begins to enter synagogues in Jerusalem that accommodate Hellenized Jews from various parts of the Roman Empire.
- And Stephen is “full of grace and power” and though we wish we knew more, it is probable that his preaching was powerful, fearless, with signs and wonders accompanying.
- The religious authorities are now driven to extremes; Stephen must be stopped. They resort to dishonest means to do so. If more and more are joining with the believers in Jesus, and now from the Hellenized Jews, it can only be trouble.
- Stephen is arrested (seized) and brought before the Council of Israel, the Sanhedrin. False witnesses are brought in who testify that Stephen is blaspheming Moses and God, charges if proven would allow them to execute Stephen without Roman approval.
- A second set of charges is that Stephen preached against the Temple and the Law. The Temple in that the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:1-2 were misunderstood or twisted, and the Law in that is was proclaimed that Jesus fulfilled the Law. (see Matthew 7:13-14)
- These indeed, if true, are revolutionary words. And the idea that Jesus would “destroy this place” clearly put Him and His followers into the category of dangerous traitors.
- At that very point of false testimony, the face of Stephen was altered so that he looked angelic. What is this?