· As the church grew it experienced some challenges
· Those widows of Grecian Jewish background were getting less in the daily distribution of food than those widows of Hebrew Jewish background; and the Grecian Jews began to complain.
· The Twelve saw it needed to be managed better, but also acknowledged that their own ministry was to teach the Word of God.
· They decided it best to turn it over to others, and had them select seven men who would do it
· These men had to be full of the Spirit and wise. In other words, it was evident that they were being used by God and making decisions that were of God
· The Twelve saw their primary ministry as teaching the Word of God and Praying
· One of the men they chose was Stephen who was not only full of the Spirit but was also full of faith.
· The names of all seven of the men seem to indicate that they were of Grecian Jewish background, the offended background (a wise and prudent solution)
· These men were commissioned by the twelve by the laying on of hands
· As the Twelve were free to continue doing what they had been called to, the church grew even more.
· Even some of the Jewish Levitical Priests began to follow Jesus
· The story shifts to Stephen here, and for the first time someone is doing miracles that is not one of the twelve
· Opposition arose from other Grecian Jews, but they could not discredit Stephan because the he was full of the Spirit and wisdom (The two criteria mentioned for the task above)
· (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament) - Jerusalem had many synagogues (though not the 480 of later tradition), including some of those mentioned here. Archaeologists have found the dedicatory inscription from a "synagogue of the freedmen," those descended from former Roman slaves.
· Since they couldn’t discredit him legitimately they did it illegitimately. And got some false witness to accuse him of speaking against Judaism and one of its most loved leaders, Moses.
· They had him brought before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused him of saying Jesus was going to destroy the Temple and change the customs of Moses. The Sanhedrin has heard these false charges before. They were similar to the same false accusations charged against Jesus (Mark 14:55-59).
· Everyone there observed at this point that Stephan’s appearance had changed and he looked somewhat angelic. It would seem that his face glowed with glory, like Moses' face in Ex 34:29,35).
· Our church needs foster men and women who are full of the Spirit and Wisdom
· We need to figure out how our spiritual leaders can spend more time teaching the Word of God and praying and less time administrating.
· We need to evaluate our church and make sure that we aren’t giving preference to one group of people (those who have been there a while) versus another group (those newer to the church)
· I need to grow personally. I need the Holy Spirit to work more in me, and I need to grow in faith.
Thank you for your grace and love. You are almighty and yet you choose to pour out your gifts on us. I know you love the people at Trinity Church and continue to bless us, Thank You! Please show us how we can grow in the power of your Spirit and in your wisdom. Help us equip each person for the ministry, and help us free our shepherds up more to teach your word and pray for the saints. Would you open our eyes to any inequities in our body, and give us the wisdom to make them right so that we might glorify you. Continue to grow me and my leadership of this gathering. I thank you for your grace and patience with me. I want to take the next step and become even more the man of God you desire me to be. Help me be courageous and follow you more closely. More of you, less of me . . . for your Glory.
In the name of Jesus, my Lord and King I pray, AMEN.
Posted on Wed, February 11, 2015
by Joel King