Satan’s attempt to silence the voice of the truth from Christians now spreads from the murder of Stephen to attacks on Christians living in Jerusalem. This persecution will be used by God to spread the gospel beyond the borders of Jerusalem and to other peoples also. Philip, who we met in chapter six, becomes an evangelist, spreading the gospel to Samaritans, a people in religious and cultural conflict with the Jewish people and Judaism.
To Satan, the ministry of Stephen was toxic. He demonstrated that not only was Jesus the Messiah according to the Hebrew Scripture, but also that they as a people routinely killed those whom God sent to them. Their zeal for God collapsed under the weight of a fanaticism that refused to be God led. Satan got them to kill Stephen but it was a blunder because it served to spread the gospel and stir a man named Saul to the point where God would reach him, converting him from persecutor into the great apostle Paul.
Arrested on false charges, Stephen takes the opportunity to preach Christ. At no time does he defend himself, instead he instantly goes on the offensive by pointing out from Scripture that the Jewish people have a long history of rejecting God sent deliverers the first time but submitting to them the second time. This was especially true with Joseph and Moses and now Jesus Messiah. His sermon is a masterpiece.
Stephen, one of the new leaders appointed by the apostles, was full of faith and the Holy Spirit, so much so that those who disputed with him about the identity of Jesus Christ were so thoroughly defeated that they resorted to dishonesty and the courts in attempt to silence him. As he sat before them his face was angelic, that is, innocently aglow, having a clear understanding of God.
Are Christians aware of how close Christianity came to devaluing God’s Word; Scripture; the Bible? In this section we see that in the presence of unfairness the apostles were called to resolve the problem, but the apostle were very careful to do so without surrendering their time in prayer and preparation in Scripture. The outcome was their appointment of seven outstanding men who served to needs of the flock without distracting the apostles from the word. Christianity had a close call with making the Bible inferior to other things.