Monday, February 27, 2012

Acts 7:44-46

Summary retelling of Acts 7: 44-46:

Stephen then reminds the Sanhedrin that the “tent of witness” (Tabernacle, the predecessor to the Temple in Jerusalem) was brought into existence by God’s direction through Moses.  Stephen briefly mentions that God allowed the Hebrew people to subdue the Promised Land under Joshua.  He then says that they had God’s guiding through the tabernacle up until the time of David.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
My first thought is likely going to be a continual “first thought” that is applicable for every day until we finish Acts 7:50.  So I’m going to keep it as a running commentary until we get to verse 50.

Stephen continues to demonstrate mastery over his religious heritage.

  • Day one we see that Stephen was familiar enough with Abraham. 
  • Day two we see that Stephen is familiar enough with Joseph.
  • Day three we see Stephen is familiar with Moses’ birth and the persecution of the Hebrew people in Egypt.
  • Day four we hear how Moses interacts with his people and the initial failure he has.
  • Day five we hear the burning bush incident retold and God’s calling for Moses.
  • Day six we hear a brief summary of the exodus story and how Moses did miraculous things with the people in the wilderness
  • Day seven we hear about the Golden calf incident and the continued rebellion of the Hebrew people
  • Day eight we hear about the tabernacle and the conquest of the Promised Land

Why is it important to realize that Stephen knows his religious history?  What does knowing the religious history allow Stephen to accomplish?  Do you know the religious history of the Old and New Testaments?  If yes, how can/do you use it?  If no, how can you learn it?

Second Thought:
Now we finally see one of Stephen’s main points – he’s building up to conflict against the Sanhedrin regarding the Temple.  The Temple was a place of conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, why wouldn’t it be a place of conflict among the Jewish leaders and His followers?  Jesus told the Jewish leaders that if they destroy the Temple of God that Jesus could rebuild it in three days.  While the Jewish leaders assumed Jesus was talking about the building, Jesus was actually talking about His body.  Jesus taught that the body was the new Temple of God because it was where the Holy Spirit would dwell.  Of course, this irritated the Jewish leaders who believed everything revolved around the actual Temple building.

Have you ever gotten into a conflict between someone who cares about the building and someone who cares about the ministry going on in the building?  Which is more important?  Which should take precedence?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7:47-50
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