Stephen is best known for being the first Christian martyr, put to death because of his faith in and witness to Jesus. But firstly he was selected as one of seven deacons, to help with the care of widows. The early Christians had a strong caring focus for those who were marginalised. This was the Good News of the risen Jesus in action. This was Jesus’ call to love one another, to wash one another’s feet.
Stephen was part of God’s embrace of love. We are told that Stephen brought Jesus’ healing to many, and also brought a clear testimony in words, clearly proclaiming to fellow Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah, risen from the dead. This really offended some leaders who were strongly offended by Stephen’s wise words, and because they really didn’t have a reply, they set up false witnesses against him. Stephen’s serving and witnessing days were short. But the message he brought is forever remembered, and his short life an encouragement for all of us to be bold with Jesus’ actions and words.
How will that boldness show this week?