GOSPEL MEDITATION # 24
Stephen’s Speech # 3
- 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 passages of Scripture.
- Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.
- Stephen is on trial before the Council of Israel, 70 members headed by the high priest, Caiaphas. Stephen, the deacon, has been charged with a number of crimes including blasphemy against both Moses and God.
- Stephen is allowed to defend himself and so he commences on a longish narrative emphasizing the reality that the Chosen people continually disobeyed God, though He rescued them from slavery and yet worshipped gods that are no gods.
- In the story Stephen tells, both Joseph and Moses are ‘types of Christ’ in that they were rebuffed and rejected yet delivered the people of God both in Egypt and the Wilderness of Sinai.
- Now Stephen speaks of the tent of witness in the wilderness, that tabernacle God instructed Moses to build, which would be the place where He dwelt, in the inner most sanctuary, the Holy of Holies. The concept being that Yahweh now dwelt with His people.
- Still, Stephen asserts, God does not dwell in a house made by hands and he appeals to Isaiah in our chapter 66.
- The intent is to show that the great temple in Jerusalem, that one build by Solomon and later rebuilt by Herod the Great, cannot contain the living God. Then he addresses Israel as “stiff-necked” and who continually rejected those sent to them, which they did again by murdering the Righteous One, meaning Jesus Himself. The elders of Israel stand convicted.