June 10, 2022 – Friday
Acts 6:8 NIV
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 6:8 ESV
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 6:8 KJV
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
I was curious when I looked at this verse and saw that some versions had faith instead of grace. Some commentaries simply say the better MSS (manuscripts) give full of grace and power. Guzik writes about the difference,
The meaning is substantially the same, because to live in faith is to walk in God’s grace. It is interesting to note that Stephen was not one of the apostles and he is the first man, other than an apostle, who performed great wonders and signs in the Book of Acts.
Stephen was the first of seven disciples, known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom v3, who would have the responsibility of the daily distribution of food while ensuring the widows were not overlooked v2. After the seven were chosen, 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Now I must tell you that we are given a great amount of detail about Stephen, not because he was so unusual, but because he became the first martyr for Christ. This was because as the next three verses tell us, 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
Stephen eventually ended up under trial by the Sanhedrin and after he was accused by false witnesses, 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. It was then in chapter 7:1, Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?” Of course, they were not true, and Stephen proceeded to provide a history of the Jewish people from Abraham through Moses through David and Solomon. At the end he accused them saying, 51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
This made them furious with him, 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” This only infuriated them even more whereupon they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him to death with none other than Saul [later Paul] holding their coats. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Thus the first martyr of our faith died.
Bottom Line: Stephen was a man full of God’s grace and power or more simply said, full of faith and power. How full of faith are each of us. Faith or God’s grace/favor and power are clearly linked. Do our lives reflect our faith, God’s favor, in our lives?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Please help us to grow in faith so that we might be described as full of grace/faith and power. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton