Prayer: O God, teach me your ways through your Word and your Spirit, in Christ. Amen.
Talking about God
2 And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me…”
Stephen is on trial. False accusations have been made, but Stephen does not talk about himself. He instead talks about God and relates to the Jewish leaders a story of how God has fulfilled His promises to the Jewish people, even though they have historically ridiculed and refused to listen to God’s messengers. Stephen tells them to listen, because their lives depend upon his words. Stephens words speak of God, and God’s actions, not the actions of himself.
How often do we get a chance to talk about our faith with others? It is not always a safe thing to do in public these days. When we do, our devotion writer suggest; “how do we preface our words? Do we speak of what we believe, what our churches do, and how we serve our neighbors? Do we tell about worship opportunities and Bible studies? All these conversations are well and good, and needed. But when asked to talk about our faith, do we talk about God? Do our words describe Jesus Christ, in whom God is revealed? The gift of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is ours to share. Let us tell those we meet: ‘Listen to me, let me tell you about our great God.’”
Prayer: “Inspiring God, push us out of our comfort zones to share your life-saving Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Stephen’s Speech to the Council
7 Then the high priest asked him, “Are these things so?” 2 And Stephen replied:
“Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living. 5 He did not give him any of it as a heritage, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as his possession and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child. 6 And God spoke in these terms, that his descendants would be resident aliens in a country belonging to others, who would enslave them and mistreat them during four hundred years. 7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9 “The patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him, 10 and rescued him from all his afflictions, and enabled him to win favor and to show wisdom when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11 Now there came a famine throughout Egypt and Canaan, and great suffering, and our ancestors could find no food. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there on their first visit. 13 On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five in all; 15 so Jacob went down to Egypt. He himself died there as well as our ancestors, 16 and their bodies were brought back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.