Friday, September 21, 2007

Acts 6

Things have been going so well for so long, and now the grumbling begins. The Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews) believed that their widows were not being taken care of in the same manner as the Hebrew widows, and they wanted something to be done. So the Twelve gathered together and decided that if they were going to have time to do what they were supposed to be doing (prayer and preaching), then they were going to have to raise up other leaders to help sort out of the the messiness of community.

I find it interesting that the Twelve do not select seven men. Instead, they call on the community to select seven men. They did give them qualifications, though:
  • A good reputation
  • Wisdom
  • Spirit-filled
Because of this delegation, Luke points out that the "word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith" (6:7).

Side note: This was a huge turn of events. The priests were the primary persecutors of the early church at this time. Another side note: I love the phrase "became obedient to the faith."

One of the seven men chosen was Stephen. Luke describes him as a man who was "full of grace and power." He had been performing signs and wonders, and therefore had attracted a large crowd. It also attracted opposition. One day that opposition accused Stephen of blaspheming God. Stephen was seized and brought before the council.

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