They Prayed – The Apostles Didn’t
On many occasions, the apostles of Jesus Christ prayed and laid hands on others, but this wasn’t one of them.
So, today as we continue with our Book of Acts Bible Study, let’s examine one of those exceptions. Here, the apostles didn’t pray but they laid hands.
Our Bible references are Acts 6:6-15 and John 2:19-21.
So, after the entire contingent of disciples selected seven deacons according to the Twelve’s specifications; then they presented them to the leaders.
Many Christians misunderstand the following verse of Scripture.
“Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6).
These Seven Men Prayed
They placed these seven men before the Twelve Apostles. Then these seven men prayed. After their prayer the Twelve laid their hands on them.
The Apostles only laid hands on these seven men after “they had prayed”.
The men who prayed are not the same ones who laid hands.
“And the word of God increased; … the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
The Word of God increased, means that the disciples made more preaching appearances. The number of people who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ increased.
Subsequently, “the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly”. As a result, many of the priests became Christians (Acts 6:7).
Was Stephen Powerful and Formidable Because he Prayed?
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8).
If you are full of the Holy Ghost and faith, power is inevitable. And I always maintain that there are no powerless disciples of Jesus Christ.
“Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen” (Acts 6:9).
Stephen was powerful and formidable. None of the oppositions could successfully refute his words by himself. Instead, they gang-up on him, five to one and still they were no match for his wisdom and power.
“And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10).
When this tactic failed then thy resort to more personal measures. They paid “men” to lie on him.
They Misunderstood the Word
“Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God” (Acts 6:11).
The servant is not greater than his master. They did a similar thing to Christ. Don’t you think they would do the same to one of his followers?
“And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,” (Acts 6:12).
“And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law” (Acts 6:13).
“For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us” (Acts 6:14).
The Temple of His Body
Did Deacon Stephen preach all those things about Jesus? Yes, he did but the Jews misunderstood.
They also misunderstood Jesus. He says that he “shall destroy this place” (John 2:19-21).
He wasn’t speaking of the Temple.
In fact, he was referring to the temple of his body. This is a reference to his death.
“And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).
Note that Stephen didn’t defend himself. He didn’t defend himself verbally from their words nor physically from their stones. He allows the Lord’s purpose to fulfil on him.