We live in an age of outrage. It seems like most people are always yelling at someone else. The anger and aggression knob has been cranked to 11.
Acts 7 paints a similar picture in first century Jerusalem. Jesus has risen, and try as they may, the religious leaders can’t silence the spread of the news of his resurrection. So they get a little more aggressive, conspiring to silence Stephen who was, “full of grace and power [and] was doing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).
Stephen, “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5), stands before a contentious council, giving a lengthy defense for the erroneous charges brought against him (see Acts 6:8-15). Unsurprisingly, the council doesn’t approve of his response.
So what does the council do? Well, what any angry mob in the
21st first century would do when the truth doesn’t fit their narrative: “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54).
But what strikes me the most from Acts 7 is Stephen’s response to their aggression. He did not lash out in return, but he also never back-peddled on the truth. He did not meet their aggression and evil with equal outrage. Nor did he respond with passive aggressive memes or condescending comments in ALL CAPS.
Rather, in quiet and humble confidence, he remained unflinchingly faithful to the end. He entrusted himself, his reputation, and his eternity to the Lord Jesus Christ, and we would do well to follow suit.