Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2015

Verse 52: “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,”

Some years back when DC Comics was re-introducing Plastic Man to their readers (Plas, being a hero from the Golden Age of Comics, was being updated to the modern age), they ran a 4-issue limited series to re-introduce people to the comic crime fighting capers of Plas and his sidekick, Woozy Winks. In issue #3, Plas pursued Woozy to California; Woozy had become brainwashed into joining the religious cult of a modern-day Atlantean prophet named Rama Lama (whenever his name was pronounced, a retainer would ring a bell on a staff and the sound would go, “Ding Dong”…yes, this was for comic effect.) In the midst of trying to save an old beggar-looking man who accused Rama Lama of being a fraud (which he was), Plas and Woozy rescued the man from Rama’s horde of followers. They began to wonder about this old man, who kept claiming over and over that HE was the real Atlantean wizard (whenever they asked him how he knew relevant facts about the case, he’d say, “because, I’m a wizard!”) The three tried to thwart Rama’s scheme; all the while, the beggar kept insisting HE was the real Atlantean wizard. You see, the music and dancing festival Rama was sponsoring was a ploy to get them all to kick-start an earthquake to destroy California. However, the festival was being held along the San Andreas fault, and kick-started a massive earthquake too soon! Plas used his stretching powers to try and keep the fault from opening, but of course lacked the strength. Suddenly the old beggar chanted a corny spell, temporarily endowing Plas with the superhuman strength to close the fault and save the day, which he did. When things calmed down, they asked him how he did that…to which the beggar replied, “because…I…am…a wizard!” They finally believed him, as he explained that he was the last remaining wizard of Atlantis, and that the state of California was the Atlantean continent that he “accidentally” shunted into North America years ago (“that’s why people out here are just a touch peculiar…it’s the residual magic in the land!”) The funniest running gag of this episode was that the “crazy guy” that everyone thought was nuts, turned out to be what he said he was….it’s just that no one would listen to him.

Stephen is turning the history lesson into a pointed accusation against the council; he demonstrated through historical fact that the forefathers of Israel always persecuted the prophets God sent, even the ones who proclaimed the coming Messiah. And then…point blank…he accused them of killing the Just One (Jesus) themselves, making them just like their forefathers, murderers and betrayers! A footnote in my Holman Bible states it thusly: historically, when sinners are confronted with the truth, it makes them mad…or it makes them repentant.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

Read Full Post »

Verses 35-37: “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘ The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’”

In December 2008, Auburn fans were waiting to see who the university would hire to replace the recently-resigned Tommy Tuberville as head football coach. I first got word at a Sunday School Christmas party as a friend of mine had been catching the latest news. A lot of alumni were expecting a “big-name” hire…and my friend told me that they hired…Gene Chizik. I must admit, it took me some minutes after saying, “Who?”; I was reminded that he had once been Tuberville’s defensive coordinator, but was recently at Iowa State. I wasn’t alone in my confusion; I heard from several fans I knew that they were perplexed that Chizik was going to be “the man” to coach my alma mater’s football team. In the day and age of universities trying to get the “big name”, some weren’t satisfied with the hiring of Chizik, who just finished that year at Iowa State with a 2-10 record. Yet, not 2 years later, he was the head coach of Auburn’s BCS national championship win over the University of Oregon. Everyone was riding high now that Chizik was indeed “the man”. For the record, he was fired after only 4 seasons.

The point I was trying to make was that, although a former successful assistant at Auburn, some folks didn’t like him at first as the choice for head coach. Stephen is reminding the Sanhedrin, in the history lesson he’s giving them, that Moses, God’s man to lead Israel, at first wasn’t accepted by Israel either! Moses even told them that a Prophet would come from the lineage of Israel, and that the people better listen! Now…who do you think he was referring to? Hint: the council didn’t like Stephen’s analogy! The answer, of course, is Jesus Christ.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

Read Full Post »

Verse 9: “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him”

A man once went through the throes of depression. Being a Christian, he turned to God for help. Even as dark thoughts crowded inside his mind, he prayed to God, quoted Scripture, and sang hymns to Him. Even though he didn’t feel His presence at the time, he knew that Jesus was there. And He helped him through that hard time. The only question being on his mind was, “why did I go through this, Lord? I don’t understand.” Years later, God placed that same man as a counseling friend to another from his church who was hospitalized and going through an even harder depression. He was able to relate to his friend, and comfort him in that dark time. As the young man left the hospital, he suddenly stopped and looked skyward. “God, is that why I went through what I did years earlier? Because you knew my friend needed an ear to bend, of someone who had been through it?” But, of course, the young man already knew God’s answer.

Stephen is reminding the council that the God the Christian church serve, the Christ that they follow…was also with Joseph and God’s people in the Old Testament. God is with us in the dark times and the good times.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

Read Full Post »