We learned in the last section that one of the people who was chosen to help with the situation with the widows is a man named Stephen. Stephen begins to perform many miracles, and once again those in power begin to get afraid. They begin to bring false charges against Stephen and go so far as to persuade people to serve as false witnesses against him. The false witnesses say that Stephen has blasphemed against Moses and God. So these angry Jews bring Stephen before the Sanhedrin with the charges that Stephen “…never stops speaking against this holy place (the Temple) and against the law.” It’s interesting how transparent the concerns of the leaders are. The leaders are concerned because this new Jewish-Christian movement is taking the power that used to reside in the Temple and spreading it out among the whole Body of Christ. So how do they combat that? They accuse Stephen of speaking out against the Temple.
How does Stephen answer their accusations that he speaks against the Temple, Moses, God and the law? He tells the Jews Continue reading
As the disciples are faithful to preach the Gospel, God is faithful to keep adding to their number. As their numbers increase, the kinds of ministries that were needed to benefit the community also increased. It came to pass that one ministry that grew up was a ministry that helped to provide food for widows, both of Jewish heritage and non-Jewish heritage.
As often happens when there are ministries involving groups who aren’t yet used to living life together, a practical issue arises. The non-Jewish, or Hellenistic, widows claim that they are being overlooked in the distribution of food. Even in the midst of a ministry led by the Holy Spirit, these practical sorts of issues arise. Let’s look at how the Twelve handle the situation Continue reading
After the episode with Ananias and Sapphira, Luke wants to assure us that the Holy Spirit is still at work in the lives of the believers. In the end, when someone refuses to be part of the work of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Holy Spirit moves on without his or her participation.
So the apostles continue to perform many signs and wonders. The believers continue to meet together for teaching and worship, and their number continued to grow.
And, of course, those in power continued to grow more and more worried. Verse 17 tells us that the High Priest and some members of the Sadducees were full of jealousy. See, this new Jewish movement was taking their power away. We see the continuing theme that we’ve mentioned before here again–power is no longer centered in the Temple. Continue reading