It's All About Perspective

Christians see things differently.

Acts 7:1-16 (ESV)

And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh. And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all. And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.”

What a hoot. The council thinks they’re in control, having arrested Stephen and put him on trial. They see this as Stephen in the dock, trying to defend himself against the ridiculous charges they’ve cooked up.

But Stephen lives in another kingdom. He sees this as a chance to preach to a captive audience, and so he launches into a 1,230 word sermon. The council has to sit there and listen to the whole thing. This section seems long, but Stephen is just getting warmed up. He’s not even one-third done.

The council is making the classic mistake that persecutors of the church always make. They assume that Stephen is like all “normal” people; his desire to stay alive trumps everything else.

But Stephen’s not on that wavelength at all. He just wants to spread the gospel.

This is why it’s so important to pray for our missionaries. They have put spreading the gospel above everything else. Having abandoned the “normal” means of security, they depend our prayers.

So, please ask the Lord to protect them physically. Also ask Him to bless their mission – with many people coming to Christ.

Ask God to build churches that will live on long after these missionaries are gone.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.