Acts 6 (Listen)

6:1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.




Devotional:

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:5a,8)

Stephen was not only what could be described as the first church deacon, he was also the first Christian martyr. Stephen was full of faith, grace, power, and the Holy Spirit. Other than the apostles, Stephen was the only person mentioned who performed “wonders” and “signs,” and in verse 10 we also see how Stephen’s wisdom is unmatched when confronted by other Jewish groups. So much so that these Jews concocted lies about him to have the people become angry enough to seize him and bring him before the council. These tactics are the exact same ones used on Jesus before he was unjustly tortured and crucified (Matthew 26:59,60). 

We need not be apostles to faithfully and efficiently preach the gospel, give our testimony, or reveal our power given by the Holy Spirit. Have we ever been in a situation where we thought we weren’t able to proclaim Jesus in a way the apostles or men like Stephen, Barnabas, or Phillip? Do we forget that the same power is in us?