Acts 6:8-15 Reacting To Truth

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” Acts 6:8–15

So much can be said about how these people tried to silence Stephen’s words – words which terrified, rather than enlightened them. It helps to wonder, first, why they reacted this way.

This young man spoke to some of the most religious men of his time. Even the most learned around him could not argue with what he said. They were moved by his words, but reacted as if threatened.
Why didn’t they accept what he told them? What Stephen said at times contradicted the “truths” they had built around their own faith. They clung to elements of their religion which brought comfort, for example: actions brought salvation; how they dressed or what they said or what they gave brought them closer to the holy and divine.

What truths do we hold close to our hearts? What behaviors or rituals have we practiced since childhood which we feel draw us closer to God or offer a sense of comfort to our faith? Imagine someone questions these truths, tells you God already loves you more than you can imagine, and nothing you can do aside from returning that love will ever bring you closer to Him? It is a beautiful and simple truth, but when it contradicts “what I’ve always known” it can become a threat.

How might we react?

We could accept their statement and lean in, learn more, rethink our personal assumptions by reading more scriptures, then maybe find ourselves in a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.

Or, we could lash out at the speaker as someone who threatens our status quo, makes us question what we believe. The more convicting someone’s words are, the more we fear their “truth” might reshape us. We might be too comfortable to want that.

The more real Truth in a statement, the more effect it has on us, positive or negative. We should never assume we know everything. Always question and strive to learn. God’s Truth never changes, even under scrutiny. It's when we decide we know everything, that our own “truth” can, itself, become a god. Then, like the people hearing Stephen’s words, we’ll be threatened, rather than enlightened, by what is said.


Lord, let me never assume I know it all. Teach me more about you every day. May my mind, like my heart, never be hardened to Your Truth. Amen.