1 and the high priest said, “are these things so?” 2 and stephen said: “brothers and fathers, hear me. the God of glory appeared to our father abraham when he was in mesopotamia, before he lived in haran, 3 and said to him, ‘go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 then he went out from the land of the chaldeans and lived in haran. and after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6 and God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7 ‘but I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 and he gave him the covenant of circumcision. and so abraham became the father of isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and isaac became the father of jacob, and jacob of the twelve patriarchs. [acts 7:1-8]
are these things so?
this chapter of acts begins with a question. stephen has been accused of blasphemy – profaning God and speaking against God’s law. as stephen stands before the jewish council and is asked this simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, he does not answer so simply. he instead takes these leaders on a journey, walking them through the history of their people. a history that leads to the undeniable truth that Jesus is the messiah their forefathers had all been waiting and preparing for.
stephen begins this journey with the account of abraham. being called out of his homeland and led to the land of promise, abraham is considered the father of the jewish people. It was to abraham that God made the promise of a nation of descendants, as numerous as the stars, worshipping in this land of promise.
these leaders knew the history, but had missed the point of why they knew it. abraham belived God by faith, and his faith was counted to him as righteousness (genesis 15:6). while they believed in God, they lacked the faith to believe that God was still capable of doing the impossible. They couldn’t grasp that God would be fulfilling his promise in their day, in a way that was beyond their understanding. yet stephen believed, and knew God’s miraculous salvation with all his being. God was indeed doing the impossible among them through the resurrection, the thousands of lives forever changed, and the majority of these leaders of the people simply could not believe it.
like stephen, may we be a generation of faith, not just knowing the right answers about God, but truly devoting all that we are to the great King who still does the impossible.
~ jason soroski