Acts 7-8: Dilemma

This is the post for October 18 that WordPress decided to delete instead of posting yesterday. Don’t know why, but by the time I realized what had happened I was unable to save it. So here it is.

How many of you have seen the new McCafe commercial for their cappuccino? I tried to find it online to post a link for those of you who may not have seen it yet, but I was unable to. So let me describe it for you. In it, a man gets a cappuccino, realizes how good it is, and begins to tell everyone he knows just how good it is. The commercial shows several scenes where he is touting the greatness of his beverage to several different people. Not just the beverage, but how the beverage was made, that it was “real” cappuccino made with fresh ground espresso beans not some cheap powder (sorry Tim’s). What caught my eye about this commercial was just how descriptive this guy was. He used a lot of descriptive words, sound effects, even a couple of body/hand motions in his descriptions. It is really quite good.

I realize that this guy is a paid actor who is following a script, so his exuberance is a bit suspect; but on the other hand, the same thing happens when you ask a sport’s fan about their favourite team or player. Or if you listen to a parent talk about their children; or if you ask a foodie about their favourite recipe or restaurant. There is an exuberance that people display for things that really “turn their crank”.

This leads me to Acts chapter 7, and perhaps one of the saddest pieces of scripture in the New Testament, but also one of the most emboldening. It is the story of Stephen, the first person on record to die because he believed in Jesus. It is a sad story because this young man “full of grace and power”, whose very “face was like the face of an angel”, is cut down because of the religious elite who refused to listen. Stephen died simply because he believed and refused to bow the pressures of the religious institution of his time.

There are two lessons in this for us as Christians. The first is that we should be as bold as Stephen when it comes to sharing our faith, we should be as exuberant as the cappuccino guy in the commercial. The power of Jesus Christ in our lives should ooze out of us. I don’t know about you, but the possibility of negative social side-effects sometimes creates a dilemma in my heart. To share and face the consequences, or to not share and be disobedient to my Lord. We know from this story which side of that dilemma Stephen landed on.

But we must also take a warning as Christians from the teachers of the law in this story. We must not be like them! We must be careful that we are not being like them in the face of passionate pursuit of faith in Jesus.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Acts 9-10

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