by Ivor Powell

This content is part of a series.

Stephen: The Giant Among the Dwarfs (29 of 34)
Series: Bible Oases: Spiritual Refreshment From Unlikely Places
Ivor Powell
Acts 7:3, 8, 60

An elderly Christian was asked what he desired most in life, and after a few moments reflection he replied, "I desire three things: (1) To be found in Christ; (2) To be like Christ; and (3) To be with Christ." I have asked many people the same question. A little boy told me he wished to become a fireman. Students like books, misers covet money, politicians and athletes desire fame, alcoholics yearn for liquor and drugs. The testimony of the old Christian suggests sunshine on lofty mountain peaks overlooking valleys filled with fog. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a giant among dwarfs, a convert who matured quickly. Five thought-provoking details invite attention.

He Was Greatly Esteemed (Acts 6:5)

It may be safely assumed that Stephen was one of the first converts won by the early Christians. Probably he was attending the Feast of Pentecost when the apostles commenced preaching the gospel. He was never known as an associate of the original apostles and was not mentioned in any of the Gospels. It is therefore assumed he first believed in Christ when Peter delivered his testimony on the Day of Pentecost. Stephen was a Jew who had studied the Holy Writings, and when the claims of the Lord were presented, he realized that all for which he yearned could be found in Jesus of Nazareth. There were 3,000 converts in the initial meetings and 5,000 came later. Stephen became one of an army of 8,000 people, and it might have been easy for him to have been lost in the crowd. It was significant that within a short time he was well-known to an immense number of people. When the twelve apostles considered it necessary to appoint trustworthy persons to superintend the distribution of financial help to the impoverished widows within the church, the first person nominated was Stephen. Already he had gained the attention of th ...

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