Stephen was one of the followers of Christ appointed to be a servant in Chapter 6. He is one of the most recognizable of the seven new ministers. The reason is this impassioned sermon that we find in Acts 7.
It comes after Stephen is arrested for preaching in Jesus’ name. The high priest and other religious leaders were searching for the disciples and anyone else preaching in Jesus’ name, and here Stephen is arrested for alleged blasphemies as a result. The majority of Chapter 7 is Stephen’s defense of his actions.
In one of the most important addresses in Acts, Stephen tells the high priest and others that he had not violated any laws. What he did was preach what has been promised for all time. Stephen eloquently told of how the entire heritage of faith connects to the story of Jesus. He did this by speaking about Abraham and Moses, who are two of the most important figures in the Old Testament. Stephen knew the Scriptures and used this knowledge to speak of God’s promises through all time.
That is something important for us. As followers of Christ, it is important that we know the Scriptures and what they mean. This is more than being able to recite chapter and verse of our favorite passages. It is much deeper. Knowing Scripture is about knowing God’s story that is found within them. It is about seeing how God created this world, fulfilled his promises, and provided the way of salvation throughout all time by preparing the people for and then sending Jesus.
Knowing Scripture is about finding ourselves within God’s story of love. The Scriptures are about how God’s poured his love upon his creation. God has poured his love upon us. Stephen knew this and could recount, in a very difficult time, what it meant for him to love God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He knew the Scriptures, what they said, and what they meant for him and all people.
What about us? How familiar are we with Scripture? How connected are we to God’s story and do we find ourselves within them?
Perhaps today is a great day to get acquainted once again with God’s story and to find ourselves within them.