Acts 7:30-34 (New Revised Standard Version)
"Now when forty years had passed,
an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look,
there came the voice of the Lord: 'I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.'
Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.'"
You have to love and adore the Bible verses that pack it all in: miracles, acts of God, martyrdom, eloquence, corrupt men of God, valiant deeds, famous words and utmost bravery for the Highest God.
This is indeed the book of Acts - it is Stephen, the Bible records him having the face of an angel while telling the most important teachers of Israel how they had missed the most important event... the Messiah.
What angered them the most: being talked down to, Stephen's profound joy, hollow victory of the top position for religious status, repeat problems with a dead/risen man they had famously given an unjust trial - at night, or being accused of murdering the Son of God?
Sanhedrin Council records, records and Talmuds, collected before 400 A.D., report Jesus being alive and a burden to them. After Stephen died they reported this:
On the eve of the Passover they hung Jeshu [the Nazarene]
because he hath practices magic
and led Israel astray.
And they found naught in his favor.
There were a lot of negative, untrue statements not recorded here, yet written about Jesus in the Sanhedrin Council records, but a list of the positive proof extracted from the negative is this:
- Jesus was alive, they recognized the crowd loved him and they had a dilemma at hand.
- Jesus was born under unusual circumstances.
- Jesus' mother Mary was Heli's daughter.
- Jesus was crucified on the eve of Passover.
- Jesus made himself alive by the name of God.
- Jesus was a son, born of a woman.
- Jesus claimed to be God, the son of God, the son of man.
- Jesus ascended and claimed that he would return again.
- Jesus was near to the kingdom and near to kingship.
- Jesus had at least five disciples.
- Jesus performed miracles, i.e. practiced "sorcery".
- Jesus' name has healing power.
- Jesus' teaching impressed one rabbi.
Stephen's face is the burning bush. How could this man have gone to his death willingly with such ease?
This Sanhedrin Council did not banish Stephen to live at the outer edges, he was too dangerous. In fury over his joy, they destroyed him immediately & he went down forgiving them.
I will wonder, how the Sanhedrin Council spent the next several weeks, each person, digesting the destruction of such joy. Constantine was told to kill the family of Jesus in Nazareth. For a week they promised redemption for denying Jesus as Messiah - none would recant Jesus. Constantine had a changed life for the result. Saul encountered Jesus too.
Does one man make a difference? Stephen did not ever win prizes or make a political change - and yet to Love the Lord - lives changed. Millenniums remember Stephen and his joy.
The Scriptures are real and true. So many people seek You when life has a knot or a stopping place. You are the Good Father running to His child in difficulties. Never too busy. Heaven always has 12 open gates.
Help us, Father, to let the wild winds and waves of life to look to You. For encouragement, for guidance, for protection, for the belief You have equipped us with gifts to do the works You'd put in front of us.
Help us to believe that in seeking You, we have found You. And to feel Your comfort. The Ways of God are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience. Because this is You, Father God.
We lift up the ones we love in comfort. Knowing You love us best. We lift up the cares and concerns of the People You give us. In Joy, knowing You Love us. And we lift up our Churches, our Nation, the people of the World who know Jesus and the Nations supporting Truth and Peace. In Jesus, redemption, renewal, re-energizing us.
Amen, so be this for us - His Good Will.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †