Some folks spoke out against Stephen charging him with blasphemy. Maybe it was because he spoke “full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)
In the first 50 chapters of Acts 7, Stephen in front of the religious leaders, recaps God’s interaction with His chosen people. I can’t help but think the temple leaders pridefully enjoyed this historical review… until Stephen turns the tables on the religious leaders and confronts them with their own sinfulness.
“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” (Acts 7:51-53)
The Jewish leaders were “cut to the heart”, they were “infuriated.” Stephen doesn’t back down, he continues until the leaders “put their hands over their ears and began shouting”
Stephen is then cast out and killed, not for blasphemy, but for bringing the guilty face to face with truth – the truth about who Jesus is and who they are, and the chasm of sin that separates the two.
Ultimately the Truth convicts, and conviction hurts – it’s painful. That’s why the Truth is difficult to hear, that’s why even as Christians we may be tempted to “cover our ears” from time to time. The Truth about Christ and the truth about who we are can be a stumbling block to hearing the facts.
Lord strengthen me to “hear” the Truth… always. I know you have much to say to me – through the Word, the Spirit and fellow believers. May I be one who is willing to listen, willing to hear… and never one to “cover my ears.” Amen.