One of the top New Year Resolutions is a promise to grow in their Christian faith. Perhaps, we can learn from a man who had an unwavering faith – the first Christian martyr, Stephen.
In the book of Acts chapter 6, we can find, for the first time in our Christian history, the term “deacons.” Stephen was chosen as one of the seven deacons whose task was to take care of the widows and orphans, the marginalized in their society. In the course of doing this ministry, Stephen was falsely accused and was brought to the Sanhedrin for questioning.
Acts 7 is a testimony of Stephen to the High Council in Jerusalem. We can learn a lot of things in these verses:
First, Stephen teaches us to be courageous in the exercise of our faith. He was courageous to stand before the members of the High Council. How about us? Are we bold enough to share our faith?
Second, Stephen tells us to know our Christian history. He was well-versed in their history and connected it with Jesus Christ. How about us? Do we make an effort to know the historical roots of our faith?
Third, Stephen warns us not to go back to “Egypt.” Egypt means something that enslaves us. Let us identify these things and pray that God will liberate us.
Fourth, Stephen reminds us that God does not dwell in a “temple” or a “church.” We cannot limit God. We can worship God anytime and anywhere.
Stephen was eventually stoned to death because of his faith. But he did not waver, as we should also.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on