As our church community has been studying through the book of Acts we’ve seen so many correlations between the life of Jesus and the lives of his followers. Two examples of this are Stephen and Philip.
We probably all remember the story of Stephen the Church’s first Martyr. Stephen is falsely accused of speaking against the Temple and the Law. He is brought before the Jewish supreme court and tried and stoned to death.
As Luke records the story of Stephen’s trial we see many connections to Jesus’ own trial.
- A trial before the high priest and Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53)
- False witnesses (Mark 14:56-57 and Matt 26:60-61)
- Testimony concerning the destruction of the temple (Mark 14:58; Matt 26:61)
- Temple “made with Hands” (Mark 14:58)
- Son of Man saying (Mark 14:62)
- Charge of blasphemy (Mark 14:61)
- High Priest question (Mark 14:61)
- Committal of Spirit (Luke 23:46)
- Cry out with a loud voice (Mark 14:34)
- Intercession for Enemies (Luke 23:34)
Philip’s road to Gaza encounter is so similar to the road to Emmaus encounter.
- An encounter with a stranger on the road. (Luke 24:15)
- A conversation about Jesus’ centrality to the Old Testament story and all of scripture. (Luke 24:26-27)
- A sacrament administered (Luke 24:30)
- The sudden disappearance of the messenger (Luke 24:31)
What’s going on here? Is Luke simply copying these stories or rather is he trying to show us something?
I believe Luke’s point is to show us that Jesus’ followers are so closely linked to their master that his story has become their stories.
But isn’t this the amazing message of the scripture? God himself has taken up humanity’s story, suffered their terrible fate, and delivered them from eternal banishment from God’s kingdom. Since Jesus has taken up our story and he now invites us to take up his story; those who follow him, find themselves slowly but surely speaking, thinking, and acting the way their Lord did.
God intends our sanctification; our glorification. He intends to make us image bearers of his Son. For some at this moment this is a reminder, a wake up call as to why you are here now, alive and breathing. Follow Jesus, he is not just your savior and Lord - He is the way, the truth, the life!
For others it is a reminder that no matter how broken we are or disqualified we might feel (or actually be); God intends our sanctification; our glorification. He intends to make us image bearers of his Son. Keep following Jesus, hold on to Jesus. The Father will complete the good work he began in you.
Vaya Con Dios!