‘Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?” To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me!”’ – Acts 7: 1-2a
Just like many followers of Jesus, Stephen faced harsh criticism and accusations for his faith. One day, the influential and religious elite began attacking him with all kinds of half-truths – the kinds of lies the devil loves because of how easily they twist and manipulate.
These religious leaders brought fictitious charges against Stephen using the testimony of a false witness. They begin twisting Stephen’s words and accusing him of being sacrilegious and irreverent. Eventually, the high priest offered Stephen a chance to respond.
What Stephen did next was pretty incredible. Rather than defend himself and address the charges, he preached the sermon of a lifetime! In Acts chapter 7, Stephen shared the complete message of God found in the Bible. Speaking to a Jewish audience, Stephen began with Abraham and the birth of the Jewish faith before walking them through all the major events leading up to the coming of Christ. Take the time to read the full text. It is a concise summary of the Bible.
Rather than defend himself against these false charges, Stephen preached the Word of God to the very people who were unjustly accusing him. Why? Because even when being falsely accused, Stephen cared more about the spiritual lives of his accusers than his own physical life. Stephen hoped that they might see the truth and repent.
Talk about courageous faith in the face of very dangerous charges! Even when faced with such grave accusations, Stephen refused to back down. And just like a true hero, Stephen boldly and faithfully spoke the truth until the very end. How will you respond when attacked for your faith? Ask God for boldness, wisdom, and faith like Stephen.