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Rejected By Hypocrites

Acts 7:35-38
'This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, "Who made you ruler and judge?" He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. This is the Moses who told the Israelites, "God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people." He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.' (NIVUK)

Part of Stephen's trial was focussed on how he had spoken against Moses (Acts 6:11-14), so Stephen used the Bible's account to show that Moses was no more welcome than Jesus. When Moses, as a prince in Egypt, was trying to bring peace between two Israelites, they said that he had no authority to do so (Exodus 2:14). And yet, 40 years later and under God's commission, he led God's people out of slavery.

There are remarkable similarities between Moses and Jesus: born under foreign rule, escaped infanticide, brought up in Egypt, appointed by God to deliver His people, performed signs and wonders, but were both rejected by God's people. Alas, the trial judges could not see the similarity. They now revered Moses but rejected Jesus, even though Moses had prophesied the coming of Jesus as being a 'prophet like me' (Deuteronomy 18:15).

Stephen brought out another similarity: they both 'received living words to pass on'. Moses received the law from God on Mount Sinai. Jesus said, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honour for himself, but he who works for the honour of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?" (John 7:16-19) They liked to be seen as good religious people but did not really want God to be their ruler, so God's servants were hated and killed.

The Bible is a long narrative of how people refused God's right to rule them and so His servants were persecuted. It was the story of the prophets (Luke 11:47-49) and apostles (John 16:2-4). It continues to be the experience of God's people. So do not be surprised if you are rejected for offering living words: people who do not want Jesus to be their ruler and judge will not want His message, or His messenger. However, some people do want to hear and are hungry to be saved (John 1:12). That is why like Stephen, despite opposition, we have a responsibility to work with God in telling the truth.

God of truth. Thank You for Your servants who have proclaimed Your truth, despite opposition. Forgive me when I compromise the truth, either by my hypocrisy or by my fear of people who are resisting Your authority. Please help me to be courageous in obeying Your Word and in announcing that Jesus is Lord so that some may be saved. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams