4/18/16 New Leaders Are Chosen

The peace that has reigned in the ever-growing community of believers begins to falter as more and more Greeks and other non-Jews join the ranks.  Although their genuine faith in Jesus brings them together, their starkly different backgrounds still separate them.  Food is distributed throughout the community every day to every member, but the non-Jews are beginning to complain that they are given their food last, or not at all, especially when it comes to the widows and orphaned children.  Word of this reaches the apostles, and they call a meeting of believers to discuss the situation.  Peter rises and addresses those assembled.  “Brothers and sisters, we have heard your concerns and have prayed about a solution.  The twelve of us must remain in our current duties of teaching the Word of our Messiah and healing the sick.  Therefore, we recommend that you select from among you a group of seven men who are known to be trustworthy, wise, and led by the Holy Spirit.  Pray over them and anoint them to take the lead in this matter, to ensure that everyone receives what he or she is in need of, with no favoritism shown.”  Everyone agrees that this is a good plan, and after much prayer and deliberation, seven good men are chosen.  Stephen, a man admired by everyone in the community for his pure heart and devotion to his faith, is the first one chosen, followed by Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas.  Some are rather surprised by the nomination of Nicholas, because he is a newcomer from Antioch and has only been a believer for a very short time.  But none can argue against his faith or his dedication to their community.  Once agreed upon by the community, the men are brought before the apostles.  Led by Peter, all the apostles surround the men and lay hands upon their heads, praying for them to do well in their new positions.  The men begin the work of re-organizing the group, and the apostles are freed to continue their work of prayer, teaching, and healing in the city and surrounding areas.  The number of new believers continues to grow daily, and soon even some of the priests who have previously been antagonistic are convinced that Jesus truly is the Messiah.

 

Acts 6:1-7

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