If anyone asks you “What do you have to say for yourself?” You need never be at a loss for words. Look at the example of Stephen!

Then the Chief Priest said, “What do you have to say for yourself?” Stephen replied, “Friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, and told him, ‘Leave your country and family and go to the land I’ll show you.’ Acts 7:1-4 (The Message)

I doubt the Chief Priest expected Stephen to have the nerve to lecture him on the Hebrew heritage and tradition. Stephen had been making good account of his faith to others in the city, though, and he clearly knew the foundation of his faith. His was not a belief in Jesus that came out of personal need alone, he knew that the plan of God strethched back into history, to the establishment of God’s people through Abraham. It had taken the willingness of Abraham to act in faith, following God to a destination he did not know, and trusting God completely to begin the journey. It is clear, from what we know of the Chief Priest that he was far removed from the faithful trust in God that established the nationhood of Israel, but the angelic faced Stephen sought to inspire in him a return to that faith.

The problem with speaking about Jesus today is that people, both religious and non-religious, assume that they know what that means. Our understanding of our Christian heritage can be as immovable as the Chief Priest’s understanding of his Hebrew heritage, and this stands in the way of our faith and trust in the God of our fathers. If we see God with the vision of Stephen though, we will realise the fluid movement of God through our history and heritage. If we allow a spiritual log jam to keep us from moving forward in the promise of God then, like the Chief Priest, we may become tied to our history and heritage, no matter how modern that may be, to the detriment of our living faith in Jesus.

So, as the faith of Abraham led him to let go of all he knew and found security to hold on to God let us find in Jesus a faith that moves us forward and takes others with us in the journey along with him. Amen.

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