“Now Stephen, full of grace, divine blessing and favor and power, strength and ability worked great wonders and signs, miracles, among the people.” Acts 6:8 Amplified
In looking at the first church we must always look at Stephen, he is mentioned briefly, but oh so dramatically. Most know of Stephen primarily because he was the first martyr for the Christian faith and because Saul, who later became Paul, condoned his death.
How would you like to be described as a Christian? Would our verse today suffice? This is a wonderful testimony for any Christian and the book of Acts states it twice. Back in verse five of chapter six, when the disciples were choosing men to help with the issue of the distribution of the food, he is described. “And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit…”
Later we see in verse nine of chapter six that tells us that some in the synagogue undertook to debate and dispute with Stephen, but verse ten tells us none were able to resist his intelligence and wisdom. Sadly, the men became angry and incited the people against Stephen by telling lies, that he was blaspheming Moses and God. They brought him before the Sanhedrin and the scripture says that they saw his face had the appearance of an angel.
Some might feel that if Stephen had blessing and favor then the Lord should have delivered him from any persecution. Well, Stephen had a choice here, he could have backed down and returned to being one of the crowd, like Peter did, but he made the right choice.
We all make many choices every day, some are minor one time choices, but a lot more than you think affect our lives to some degree or another far greater. We may never have to make the choice that Stephen does, but we should be prepared to. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will fill us with strength and ability to do that.