Thursday, May 22, 2014

Acts 7 Is Amazing!

In Bible study tonight, we studied Stephen's speech to his accusers in Acts 7. This has long been a "huh?" passage for me, because Stephen tells a bunch of boring history that his accusers would have known full well, has about two verses of real zingers ("Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fthers did, so do ye"), and then is executed by stoning.

This is actually an awesome chapter. I'm a big fan now. Basically, Stephen was accused of blasphemy against Moses, God, the holy place (or Temple) and the law.

For some of the chapter, Stephen defends himself on the grounds (literally) that God makes his holy place wherever his people are. God spoke to Abraham in Mesopotamia and Haran; to Moses in Egypt and Sinai. The Temple was made by Solomon, but God makes holy whatever place he is (such as the burning bush).

For some of the chapter, Stephen points out that though they have the law, they don't keep the law. At the beginning of the chapter, we have Abraham circumcised, but at the end, the Jews do not have circumcised hearts and ears.

And then Stephen also shows how, throughout history, the people reject the one that God has sent. Moses "supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understood not," and this continues all the way to the Just One, whom the people betrayed.

After answering so adeptly the charges placed against him, the people were so angry that they executed the man whose face was like an angel, ignoring the civil law that required the Romans to rubber stamp capital punishment, thus completely proving Stephen's point.

I've been a believer long enough, that it's not often that an entire passage goes from meh to wow, so thank you for your indulgence in my excitement.

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