The first martyr - Stephen. It is a story that grips our hearts as we begin to see what is about to come for those who follow Christ. There are many aspects of this story that we could look at. How in the face of opposition and potential threat Stephen stood for the truth. The fact that once again the Jews are given their own history as proof of who Jesus was and how he was the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises to his people. How blinded the Jews became when they felt threatened and the lengths that they will go to and lies that they will tell to make it all go away.
Although today's post will be brief there is one point in particular that stood out to me. I find that it is interesting how most of the time, when the Jews feel threatened, it is more about the fact that their "customs" are being attacked rather then an issue over the matter of truth. Here in Acts chapter 6, the accusation is based on a quote that has been butchered and a misunderstanding of what Christ said in John 2.
Acts 6:14 - For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
John 2:19 - Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Their biggest concern has nothing to do with truth but instead with their customs. Like these Jews, we can, if we allow ourselves, be blinded by our customs and traditions making it impossible to see what the truth really is. If we allow it, we can be moved to action at the threat of our traditions and customs but never lift a finger when it comes to an attack on the truth of the gospel and the Word of God.
Today is a day of introspection. We are on the cusp of a season rich with traditions and customs for people of all over the world. This season, as we enjoy the comfort of family, and the great traditions that make this season great, ask yourself this one question.
If put to the test, which would I be more likely to defend, fight for, and uphold; Religious tradition or the Gospel message of Jesus Christ?