“It is God who is working in you… according to His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen and gave him power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.
Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders who acted as a legal council. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Jewish history, which the leaders in the Sanhedrin would have known well. But Stephen taught from the Old Testament things the Jewish leaders had likely never realized.
As Stephen preached, he showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!
The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. Stephen looked into heaven. He saw God’s glory, and Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him.
Remind your kids of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” Following Jesus will include difficulty and suffering. Jesus gives words of both warning and comfort: “Don’t be afraid” (Matt. 10:26).
Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus was crucified, and He told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) We can face suffering in this life because Jesus suffered first. He died and then rose again, and He is waiting for us in heaven.
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
KEY PASSAGE: Philippians 2:13
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians.
BIBLE STORY: STEPHEN’S ADDRESS
- Some people told lies about Stephen.
- Stephen taught the Jewish leaders about Jesus.
- Stephen told people about Jesus, even when he would be hurt for it.
- Stephen saw Jesus standing at God’s side before he died.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- Whom did Stephen teach the religious leaders about?
- Why were the religious teachers angry at Stephen?
- How does knowing we will be with Jesus forever help us do hard things?
- Spend a few evenings reading parts of Stephen’s address as a family. Use the cross-references in your Bible to read the corresponding Old Testament accounts.
NEXT WEEK “The Ethiopian Official Believed” (Acts 8:26-40)