Monday, June 4, 2012

Acts, Chapters 6 & 7: Stoning the annoying

Chapter 6

The "first" conflict in our perfectly harmonious little group arises, with the Greek Jews feeling that their widows are being slighted in favour of the Hebrew widows in the food-distribution system. The senior disciples are like, we're not waiters, so they instruct the junior disciples to find 7 trustworthy men, with trustworthy defined as full of the Holy Ghost (v. 3) to sort this little snafu out so they can pray some more. We even get the names of the appointed supervisors, this is such a big deal. Somehow, it also increases the number of followers.

One of the supervisors, Stephen, is singled out for his hard work. But not everyone appreciates him, and some members of the synagogue start a debate with him, but because he's so wise, they lose. Of course we aren't privy to what was actually said, we're just told this by someone writing for Steve's side. Anyway, the losers in the debate convince some other people to lie that Stephen blasphemed against Moses and god. He's taken to court, where he sits looking angelic.

Chapter 7

The priests ask Stephen if he's been blaspheming. He replies with a summary of the Old Testament which culminates in his telling the priests their ears and hearts aren't circumcised and again accusing them of murdering Jesus. In response, the priests gnash their teeth at Steve, which I assume was the first-century equivalent of biting one's thumb.

Stephen just looks up and sees god and Jesus looking down at him. This is the final straw for the priests, who cover their ears and run him out of town, where they stone him. For some reason, the bible also makes note of the fact that they take all their clothes off and give them to someone named Saul to hold.

As he's being stoned, Stephen prays to Jesus and begs him not to add this to his accusers' list of sins.

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