“But when they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” Acts 6:10
Jesus is our pattern for living, although one would never know it by the way many Christians live. We are living a wholesale Christianity. We’ve settled for living a life well below the standard Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us to live. But those who have stopped dead from shallow living and gazed at Jesus, have discovered, discerned, and demonstrated a life taken up by a higher calling.
Following in the ways of Jesus explains the content and context of Acts chapter six. Stephen caught the spirit in which Jesus lived life. Jesus assumed that the truth was continually revealing itself. He knew truth was an ever-increasing disclosure of God to all people.
Jesus had seen too much of stale system of religion. It was a system of dry ceremony. Instead of saving them from the grip of sin, it enslaved them. Instead of changing them, it was making them dull. Jesus breathed into the old system, a new life. He took the old laws of the Sabbath and made them serve the spirit of reverence for the Lord. He took what mere morality and made it subject to sympathy for others. He took the disciples and made them serve the higher law of the spirit.
Jesus and Stephen, filled with the Spirit within, challenged a system outside. And when that system couldn’t adapt to the needs of a lost heart, when it was pushed past the ways of the new covenant ways of Jesus, it either had to be revised or relinquished. Jesus and Stephen called for revolt or resignation.
The imaginative creative Spirit of Jesus could not confine itself to a narrow domain of religion. His life of freedom and love for His heavenly Father completely overrode and overloaded the stale system of rituals and rites, leaving its religious legacy in the dusty halls of history.
Stephen, like his Lord, stood for something greater. He introduced a new and living way, he brought the possibilities of a transformed life. He introduced Jesus who makes all things new.
What does it mean for you to live in the living ways of Jesus?