Is it comforting or disturbing to realize that problems have existed in the church from the very beginning?!?!? The apostles realize that they need some help in dealing with the day-to-day issues that arise, otherwise they will be overwhelmed and have to leave their primary duties of prayer and preaching. They ask the church to choose seven men who were full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom to help them. “Full” should be distinguished from “filled.” Being filled by the Spirit seems to be a momentary supernatural event for a particular purpose. Being full of the Spirit seems to refer to being close to God and allowing the Spirit to lead on a day-to-day basis. Some consider these men to be the first deacons in the church. They remind us that pastors in our day and age have a primary duty to perform as well, and they need help with the day-to-day ministry of the church.
One of these men, Stephen, performs signs for the people, and is confronted by Greek speaking Jews who had once been slaves but who had been granted freedom. They either deliberately lie about what he has said or completely misunderstand and mischaracterize his teaching about Jesus. But that shouldn’t surprise us, since Jesus warned that it would happen! We need to be aware that the same thing can and does happen today. We need to remain faithful regardless of the lies that are told about us.
John 15:20 “Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too.’“