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Devotional - week of March 21, 2010


two deacons

 

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  Acts 6:3

 

The Greek speaking Jewish widows were complaining about being ignored in the distribution of food in the early church. Seven men of good reputation who were full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit were chosen to take responsibility for the distribution of food. It is believed that these seven were the first deacons.

 

Two of the deacons, Stephen and Philip, had a ministry beyond the distribution of food that laid the groundwork for the gospel reaching the non-Jewish world.

 

The stoning of Stephen resulted in Christians fleeing Jerusalem because of a sever persecution led by Saul of Tarsus. Some of those who were scattered went outside the Promised Land preaching the message of salvation. In Antioch of Syria, some took the message of salvation to Gentiles who received Jesus. Furthermore, there is the possibility that witnessing the death of Stephen was a factor in Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 

Philip took the Gospel of Jesus to the Samaritans who were part Jew and part Gentile. Some were saved. This was the first departure from the belief that Jews only could be children of God.

 

Philip spread the Gospel into Africa by leading an official from Ethiopia, likely a Gentile who converted to Judaism, to Christ.

 

In the last reference to Philip in Scripture, he was in Caesarea where Cornelius, the first known Gentile to become a Christian, received Jesus. Philip must certainly have had a Christian influence in Caesarea.

 

We thank God that we still have deacons who have a good reputation and are full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit by living out their union with Christ.