The Drama of the Trial of the Church Leader Steven Continues to Unfold

Pastor Paul J Bern
7 min readJul 30, 2022

Steven the Church Leader Continues His Powerful Testimony During His Trial

(Acts chapter 7, verses 39–50)

Part 3 of 4

When we last left off at verse 38 of Acts chapter 7 in our ongoing studies of the writings of the apostle Luke, the early Church leader and evangelist Steven was still vigorously defending himself against the trumped-up charges of the flotilla of false witnesses that had been launched against him. This all took place in a hearing before the full Jewish governing body known as the Sanhedrin. Steven had spoken at length about the chronicles of the life of Abraham and his descendants, and the achievements of Moses, and Steven’s comparing him to Christ. Just as a condemned man led ancient Israel out of Egypt, Steven argued, so had Jesus, another condemned man, led all of humankind out of the pits of hell and into eternal glory. Steven was pointing out the egregious error of the Sanhedrin, who had handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified only months before. Needless to say, this wasn’t setting well at all with Steven’s accusers. And so let’s rejoin the proceedings of that fateful day, beginning at verse 39.

Part One of This Week’s Study Verses

But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt — we don’t know what has happened to him!’ That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands have made. But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the Book of the Prophets” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Raphan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’” (Acts 7, verses 39–43)

Steven Compares His Accusers to the Israelite’s Forty Years In the Desert

Our ancestors, Stephen argued, were a really disobedient bunch of people who would rather worship an inanimate object than a living God. Steven was also making the observation that the Jewish people hadn’t really changed very much in…

Pastor Paul J Bern

Rev. Paul J. Bern is a Web pastor and blogger on The Social Gospel Blog on Medium, Wordpress and others. Longtime Atlanta Ga. resident; stroke survivor, coach