Vs. 1, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.” Earlier in Acts, we saw a vibrant and loving church sharing to all in need. As a bit of time progressed we run into some issues (vs 1-7). However, don’t be discouraged when such things happen. Where God is working the enemy is also at work. There was a specific way to take care of the needy; in this case it was the widows. The Grecian Jews and the Hebraic Jews indicate that while they were both Jews, they were of different culture. I work in Korean-American ministry and it would sort of a similar situation. The first generation adults grew up in Korea and now live in America. They still speak Korean. The second generation Koreans are Korean, but they grew up in America and speak English. So, instead of ignoring this issue, the apostles wisely raise up seven leaders (possibly among the Grecian Jews) and this begins to show us the model of the “deacon” in the church today. As the church grows, we need to have people who are Godly continue to pick up the increased work and attention to all. Among the seven deacons chose, we zero in on Stephen (vs. 8-15). This reminds me of the lies of the Persian Leaders (Satraps) that were presented to Darius in Daniel 6. Satan is the father of lies and the extent of brining witnesses to bear false testimony is sadly something that hasn’t changed for how the enemy works. We must be very discerning! In our next chapter, we will further investigate more about Stephen.
Regarding application…Reflecting God’s Glory. Vs. 15, “All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” We know Stephen was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit (vs. 5). Question: Is this how people would describe us? This reminds me of the glory of God shone through Moses’ face coming down from the mountain (Exodus 34). One of the most Godly people I ever met was Bertha Holt. She and her husband Harry Holt founded Holt International. Holt International is world-wide adoption agency that has placed so many orphans into homes. I had the opportunity to meet Bertha on several occasions and I will tell you that I understand Luke’s descrpiption of Stephen in our passage today. Bertha radiated the glow of God’s glory. It was amazing. It was as if it was a minor miracle that God would manifest himself so evidently into someone. Brothers & sisters, this is something we should humbly seek. That when people see us, they see God’s glory!