Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
“We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God.”
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
“This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (Acts 6:8-15)
Remember the admonition the other day: Do not fight God?
We read, today, what happens if one attempts to do so.
The crowds tried to battle with God by battling with St. Stephen. The only problem was that Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. They were not.
No matter how much they tried, they could not argue effectively against Stephen because God was on the side of Stephen.
What did this accomplish?
You would think — okay, at least you would hope — that the crowds would realize that they were wrong and, in doing so, bring themselves back to God.
However, the effect of Stephen’s being filled with the Holy Spirit and winning all the arguments was that many in the crowds became angry and tried to find a way to get rid of him. They even went so far as to find people who would perjure themselves against him.
We know the end to this story: Stephen will be martyred.
His martyrdom will be something that speaks to many then and now.
God calls us to proclaim His Word and to do so boldly. If we do, we will be given what to say by the Spirit.
We may suffer for it but that is often the cost of discipleship.
FAITH ACTION: There are many people who suffer even this day for speaking about Jesus. Pray for them, that they may have the courage to persevere.