Tuesdays every week is ladies’ Bible class where I attend worship. I just want to jot a little down here about what our topic is for today. We are studying through Acts, and we’re never in any hurry about it. I wasn’t able to make it last week, so I’m a little unsure of what verse we stopped on, so I’m just going to comment here about the whole chapter of Acts 7.
In this chapter, Stephen is making his defense, although he wisely does not answer their false charges from chapter six. Rather, Stephen takes this opportunity to express the history of the Jewish people up to his present-day, though he doesn’t make it all the way. The important Jewish leaders of the day did not like to think of their Messiah, the chosen one, to come to them in common clothing. They were ready to put to death anyone who did not agree with them.
Stephen does not agree with them. He begins with Abraham and ends up in verse 50 with the prophets of the Old Testament. In verse 51, Stephen turns his attention to his accusors, calling them, “stiffnecked” and “uncircumcised” in the King James version, meaning “stubborn” and “refusing to give your heart and ears to truth”. Then, he reminded them of the cruelties with which their ancestors treated God’s prophets of old.
In verse 54, they were “cut to the heart”, as the language is in the King James version. Afterward, they could take his words no more when he professed to see Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Jesus, who they knew as a homeless carpenter, not an earthly king come to free them of the Romans. This did it. They took Stephen out and stoned him to death, making him the first to die for Christ.
In Acts 2:37, five chapters earlier, these Jews at that hearing of Peter’s similar speech, were also, “cut to the heart”. Yet, their hearts were not “stiffnecked” or “uncircumcised”. They wanted to know how to get the guilt of crucifying the Christ out of their lives. Peter told them to “repent and be baptized..for the remission of sins..” The scripture says that they “gladly” received Peter’s words and were baptized. The rest of chapter two goes on to tell of the joy that came after – how they were glad to be in each others’ company; that they had all things in common. They ate together. They visited daily with each other.
In both passages: Acts 2:37 and Acts 7:54, the people listening to basically the same sermon, were “cut to the heart”, though one toward wanting to repent and the second, wanting to destroy.
So, how is this about housekeeping anyway? Well it’s not directly. However, I will make this connection. Stephen died literally for Christ. In my life, I am to die to myself. That is, give up my own desires and wishes for those of Christ. Look here at Colossians 3:1-4:
”If then, you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
As a home keeper, dying to self means to do the mudane things at home that are unappreciated many times and caring for the little that are in this world because of me, even when it’s inconvenient. It means doing that awful thing we women don’t like, and submitting to that husband even when we can see a better way. (later in that chapter of Col 3) It means to see that I respect my husband, whether or not he acts respectable. (Eph 5:33). But, at the end of the day, the home has that peace that passes understanding. And, in the very end, the one who dies to self will appear with Christ in glory.
Sharon with Mary