In the beginning of Acts 6, we see the apostles working themselves ragged. Remember that the church was making sure everyone had what was needed. Here we see, for the first time, a disagreement within the church. The disagreement was because something appeared to be unfair. We read that the Grecian Jews complained against the Hebraic Jews that the widows were overlooked in the distribution of food. Now, my first thought was, “Why don’t the Grecian Jews see to it their widows are getting what they need, by serving them?” The Twelve (apostles) pulled all of the disciples (believers) together and let them know there needed to be others to take a part in this ministry. The Twelve had been called to prayer and spreading the Word. So, the church chose seven men who were full of the Spirit and Wisdom. These were the first “deacons”, if you will. What were these men called to do? They were called to serve. We also see for the first time, Stephen. If you notice in verse 5, he was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Verse 7 tells us that because of this decision, the word of God spread to the point that even priests became obedient to the faith. If you recall, these priests were against the apostles preaching the Word of Christ. I pray that we allow our pastor to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the Word. I pray we, as a body, will care for those around us to allow him the freedom to stay bathed in the Word.
Verse 8, “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” Next, we see that opposition to Stephen’s teaching and ministry arose. The almighty power of the Holy Spirit gave Stephen such wisdom and he was so filled with the Holy Spirit, that the opposition could not stand up against him. I pray we become so filled with the Holy Spirit and His wisdom, that the opposition can not prevail against us.
They began secretly plotting. Have you noticed that when things are done “in secret” they are usually NOT godly?? But wait, evil loves the dark, hidden, scheming plots. When they got the people and leaders “stirred up” and called him before them, they saw, with their own eyes, just how full of the Spirit, Stephen really was. (Verse 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.” I pray that we can be so full of the Holy Spirit, those around us, even when we are under oppression, stress, or persecution, can see it in our face.