Last Night's Conversation

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, July 25, 2005 at 3:45 PM

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Last night we continued our conversation through Acts with chapters 6 & 7. Luke begins to shift gears at this point in his letter to Theophilis as we see the Church begin to spread beyond the borders of Israel. Chapter 6 introduces a group of people that are referred to as "Grecian Jews". These are Jews that were born outside of Israel in one of the provinces of the Roman Empire and tended to live a life more reflective of Roman culture than Jewish. These folks felt like the Hebraic Jews (born in Holy Land and brought up in traditional Jewish custom) were slighting their widows in the "daily distribution of food". What do the apostles do? They allow seven men who were known to be "full of the Spirit and wisdom" to be appointed to the task of allocating the money, alms, and food; and if you look at those 7 names, they were most likely Grecian, not Hebraic.

Enter Stephen, one of the seven. He is the first non-apostle to be recorded as working "great wonders and miraculous signs among the people". Let's pause to imagine what the Jewish priests and officials (called the Sanhedrin) may be thinking--
"What's this? Is it not bad enough that the 12 who were with this 'Jesus' for 3 years are working miracles and won't shut up about Him, but now we have a Grecian doing it??? What's next? Gentiles (non-Jews)?!?!"
It's no wonder they bring false witness against Stephen and arrest him. Which ironically goes directly against what they decided to do just a very short time before (see Acts 5:33-39). Stephen goes on to give a WONDERFUL summary of the Hebrew scriptures (the "Old Testament) in his address to his accusers...then he lets them have it calling them such things as "stiff-necked" and having "uncircumcised hearts and ears". On hearing this, they bum rush and stone him.

One of the crew last night noticed that these priests who preach a life lived in God's will seem to always get in the way of it. Hmm...good observation I think. I wonder am I the same some times? Do I say I long for God's will but then inadvertently work against it like many Jewish priests did? Unfortunately, I think I do. So what can rescue us from our hypocrisy??? Maybe its what Stephen said--to not resist the Holy Spirit for our hunger of "control". Oh that we may live in the reality of the glory of God (like Stephen saw) and to follow where the Spirit of God leads--even into the unknown.


Anonymous lacey said...

"Maybe its what Stephen said--to not resist the Holy Spirit for our hunger of "control"."

good quote. something definitely to think about!

July 27, 2005 2:03 PM


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