And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.…
The conflict between the spirit of Judaism and the Spirit of Christ. Show the importance of this conflict in the early Church, lasting for more than a whole generation, lingering into the second century. But chiefly brought to an end through one (Saul of Tarsus), himself a trophy of the Spirit, exalted out of the very midst of the fiercest fire of Jewish bigotry.
I. THE DIVINE WITNESS. Stephen.
1. Natural gifts; Jewish training; Hellenistic. Union of faith and freedom.
2. Special gifts of the Spirit. Leader of the seven. "Grace and power." Wrought wonders and signs. The wisdom and spirit; raised the highest by Divine afflatus.
II. THE OPPOSING JUDAISM.
1. From the foreign synagogues. Therefore probably not so much on the ground of a narrow Pharisaism, but as a resistance of the Holy Spirit's manifestations in the spirit of rationalism and literalism.
2. The resort to the Sanhedrim, already leagued with the Sadducees, and therefore kindred with the Alexandrian latitudinarians. Instructive as showing that Judaism was going off into rationalism, as it still does. 3. The falsehood and the violence which wrought in the persecution. Suborned men. Appeal to the Pharisaic party, though the synagogues had no real sympathy with them. They were not really guardians of the Mosaic customs. People, elders, scribes, - all stand up by the Alexandrian party.
III. THE MIRACULOUS TESTIMONY OF GOD TO HIS SERVANT. His face "as the face of an angel" (cf. the similar manifestation on the face of Moses).
1. Spiritual manifestation appealing to faith.
2. Testimony to the purity and angelic character of Stephen.
3. Contrast between the heavenly anti the earthly in the men, the methods, the doctrines, and the final results. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.