Wednesday, December 29, 2010


As a kid growing up in the eighties we did not have reality TV. We watched make believe TV and tried to make it reality in our minds. One of my favorite shows as a kid was The Incredible Hulk. If you have ever seen this show you know that whenever Dr. David Banner would get upset he would look up at the camera and his eyes would have this appearance that made you think; "Here we go! The bad guys have pushed him too far and now they are going to get whats coming." If you are too young to remember this take a quick look at this clip.

As I was reading a couple of days ago I came across a passage that brought this TV series to mind. I was reading the story of Stephen in the Book of Acts. I read how he was empowered with the Holy Spirit and was performing great signs and wonders. Now when Christ did this it did not go over well with the rulers of the day. Surely after seeing what happened to Christ and all of the amazing things that were happening in Jerusalem the leaders and rulers would have a different reaction...right! Not so, take a look:
Acts 6: 8-14  - 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God. 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
In spite of all that these leaders saw they still wanted nothing to do with this Jesus non-sense. They wanted their power and way of life left alone and they would do anything to make sure nothing would change that. As the false accusations began to fly something started to change with Stephen:
Acts 6: 15 -  All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
This is what made me think of the transformation that took place in David Banner turning him into The Hulk. I do not think Stephen turned green and bulked up with muscles but there was a physical change in his appearance. I am not sure what an angel looks like but based on the interactions that angels have had with humans I do not think they looked like prissy, feminine, weak beings that you see in most Christian book stores or gift shops. I tend to think they look more like The Hulk, strong, rugged, powerful, maybe not green but who knows! Whatever they looked like Stephen began to take on this characteristic.

What follows this accusation and transformation is one of the most eloquent presentations of God's plan of salvation anywhere in the Bible. I do not have room to paste it but I will give you the link if you want to read it. After hearing this clear presentation of the Gospel from their holy book I would have thought that some might have repented and realized the error of their ways but it was not the case. Following this the Jew took Stephen outside and stoned him to death.

As a follower of Christ I am challenged by the passage. I sometimes wonder if I would have the boldness to proclaim the Gospel in the face of angry men like this? I also wonder if I have enough of the Bible committed to memory to do this. If you read chapter 7 you will not see Stephen pull out a scroll and look up scripture, he had no access to Google to search for verses to find what he was looking for. He had the scripture memorized.

If you are not a follower of Christ I wonder how long you will continue to reject the gift God is offering. How long will you want to cling to what the world has to offer. A life that will never produce a lasting peace and joy. How long will you neglect spending time reading God's word searching for truth? Most likely you have spent time looking elsewhere, I challenge you to read the book of John and the book of Luke. Just a couple of short reads that just may change your life.

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