The Great Deacon

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Acts 7

To solve the problem of food distribution to the widows, deacons were chosen. First on the list was Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (6:5). These are qualities needed by all who serve in the church, no matter what the task may be.

Stephen not only cared for the widows, he began preaching. As a result, he was arrested, and standing before his accusers he preached a powerful sermon. He traced God’s dealings with their ancestors, beginning with Abraham. He talked about God’s dealing with Joseph and Moses and how their forefathers had rebelled against God again and again. From time to time it is well for us to review our spiritual heritage, how God dealt not only with people in the Bible, but also with people in the early church and in the days of the Reformation. It is well to remind ourselves of how God dealt with our grandparents.

Then Stephen made his application. Every sermon must end with application. As their forefathers had rebelled against God, so had they by murdering Jesus. There is a sense in which we crucified Jesus. He had to go to the cross because of our sin.

This application infuriated Stephen’s audience. Stephen said he saw Jesus standing, concerned with what is happening. He gave Stephen the grace to die with a forgiving spirit like his own.


Father, as we consider our spiritual inheritance, help us to pass the torch of faith on. For Jesus' sake. Amen.