Acts 7:54-8:8 (AD 31) In his big sermon (chapter 7), Stephen told hard truths to an unfriendly audience. Truths that he knew – barring a miracle – they would not accept. Truths that he further knew would enrage them. There had not yet been a Christian martyr, so most likely he wasn’t expecting that their … More Day 155: Where is home?
Acts 7:37-53 (AD 31) Stephen gave it to the Sanhedrin as bluntly as Peter had given it to the general population of Jerusalem. Stephen was not even one of the apostles – he was ‘merely’ a newly-minted deacon But he was given boldness and wisdom from God to deliver these stinging rebukes to any notions … More Day 154: You murdered God
Acts 6:8-7:38 (AD 31) A short devotional today, because it’s a long reading and getting that done is, of course, the priority. Two things for us to focus on: 1. Hate-filled opposition is inevitable. We don’t want it, we don’t court it, and we certainly shouldn’t deliberately provoke it. But as if the example of … More Day 153: Of Hate & History
Acts 6:1-7 (AD 30) Jesus’ life and ministry was a stinging and humbling corrective to religious leadership. Along with the public perception of what religious – godly – leadership should look like. The Sanhedrin conducted itself in a textbook ‘abuse of power’ manner. They ascribed laws to God that he never made, they were blatantly … More Day 152: An essential ministry
Acts 5:27-42 (AD 30) Peter had previously told the crowd that they were responsible for the death of Jesus, albeit from a place of ignorance. Now in front of the religious leaders (the body known as the ‘Sanhedrin’, which included both Pharisees and Sadducees), he said “you killed [Jesus] by hanging him on a cross”(v.30). … More Day 151: Playing the odds with the truth
Acts 5:12-28 (AD 30) Already, in the early days of the early church, the patterns that led to the murder of Jesus threatened to lead to the killing of his followers. There were the miraculous healings – loads of them – and great popularity, followed inevitably by the “high priest and all his associates” being … More Day 150: The unstoppable gospel
Acts 4:32-5:11 (AD 30) Some use the opening verses here to argue for Communism. It’s a poor argument, because nobody in this situation tried to structure all of society on the basis of sharing everything and claiming ownership of nothing. Others use these verses to argue specifically that all Christians should live a communistic lifestyle. … More Day 149: Marxist Jesus?
Acts 4:23-31 (AD 30) Have you ever been around someone to whom you looked up for their devotion to God? Or their desperation to get the gospel into the ears of those who don’t know God? If you’ve ever had the privilege of listening to them pray, it probably sounded different to most prayers you’ve … More Day 148: A stirring of the guts
Acts 4:1-22 (AD 30) Kept promises are a wonderful thing. Compare these two sections – the first is Jesus warning and encouraging his disciples about what would happen under persecution. The second is from the incident recorded in today’s reading. Luke 12:11-12 – “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry … More Day 147: Promise Under Persecution
Acts 3 (AD 30) Pentecost wasn’t a one-off – Peter didn’t have some temporary moment or liquid courage on that day. Rather, filled with Holy Spirit, he had become a fundamentally different person. He was completely aware, finally, of exactly who Jesus was, and totally committed to telling everyone about him because it was a … More Day 146: Dealing with Guilt