Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
— Acts 6:8
Not long after Pentecost, the unity of the church was being threatened. Widows from a Greek background were being left out in the daily distribution of food for needy persons. So the twelve apostles who were leading the church gathered the community together to discuss a solution to this problem.
Seven people were then chosen to lead in the service ministries of the whole community. The unity of the church was restored, and the Word of God continued to spread.
Stephen’s work is especially highlighted in this chapter of Acts. His ministry of helpful deeds is also marked by a ministry of words. Stephen helps us understand that God calls us to be his witnesses with our actions and our words. By God’s grace and power, Stephen both did great wonders and spoke great wisdom.
Stephen’s work was full of power because it was a testimony of integrity and truth. He walked among fellow Christians as a disciple of Jesus, and he talked to others and invited them to follow Jesus.
But some powerful leaders outside the church saw Stephen as a threat. They persuaded false witnesses to speak against him, and yet Stephen remained a witness for Jesus. Even his face—looking like the face of angel—was a sign of his close relationship with God.
Lord of the church, empower us by your Spirit to be your witnesses in word and deed. May even our faces—in joy or sorrow— show our love for you and others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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