The righteous facade of the church has been shattered. Priests and pastors have been accused and convicted of sexual molestation. Treasurers have embezzled millions of dollars. Hypocrisy reigns supreme in the lives of many self-righteous Christians. Trust has been broken. Respect has been shattered and the witness of the church has been besmirched. The actions of the few have stolen the headlines from the loving and caring ministries of the many.
Stephen was an exceptional young man. He was chosen to be a deacon/servant among the first Christians. He was also a bold witness and capable of explaining why he believed what he did. Some Jewish groups viewed him as an enemy and a threat. Stephen’s enemies plotted against him. They brought him before the authorities and provided false testimony against him. Stephen was attacked and slandered yet when the people looked at Stephen they saw a righteous man—a man who had the face of an angel.
There are some people who will not agree with us when we share our faith. Some will ridicule us while others attack us. This is part of the price of being disciples of Jesus. Though we will not be able to avoid the attacks of others, we should live in such a way that no one has cause to question our character. We live our lives to honor God. When we fail, we are quick to confess, repent and start over.
Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. They set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.” And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.