The Birth of the Church: Week 9
In our passage from Acts today, we read about the first Christian martyr. It is the story of Stephen and it is the beginning of a great persecution against the church. At first, Stephen’s opponents argue with him publicly, but when that doesn’t work, they start a smear campaign by producing false witnesses. Finally, Stephen is brought to trial at the Sanhedrin. There are two main accusations against Stephen. The first is that he speaks against the temple and the second that he dishonours the law. But in his defence, he makes a powerful case that it is actually the religious leaders that are dishonouring the law and that God cannot be contained in buildings. Despite this, Stephen’s accusers are furious, and they drag him away to be stoned.