I always love a good Old Testament recap, like the one in chapter seven. The emphasis, this time, is how skeptical of their own rescue Israel has historically been.
“Who made you judge and ruler over us?” (7:27)
“Who made you ruler and judge?” (7:35)
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (7:51-53)
It comes as a, “you’ve always been on the wrong side of this, so of course you reject your own Messiah,” sort of rebuke.
The persecution, which followed this speech and subsequent death of Stephen, drove the gospel out to the Samaritans, Judeans and Ethiopians in chapter eight. Jesus told them to take this gospel from Jerusalem to Samaria, Judea and into the ends of the earth. Now it’s beginning to reach there.
The stone the builder rejected became a cornerstone. As the leaders of Israel fought the assertion of Jesus as Christ, many Jewish people received Him, along with now, increasingly more Gentiles.
The book of Acts is a story of power. The gospel of Israel’s Messiah was going forward, with or without them. It never sheepishly depended on the response of man. It has a power of its own.
How does the power of the gospel affect you? Where does stubbornness lurk in our own hearts? What about the LORD’s authority to judge and rule still rubs you the wrong way? Let’s examine ourselves and find something to surrender today, before we let grace pass us by.