When a tree becomes strong and starts to bear fruit, a good gardener knows that it needs to be pruned. Unless the shears are taken out and the little wild branches cut off, the tree will become unproductive. Cutting off dead wood and trimming up the branches is probably not a pleasant experience for the tree, but in the long run it is the most loving thing that the gardener can do for the tree. The pruning process will allow the tree to become even more fruitful in the future.
The tree of the church has been growing in Jerusalem for a while. It set its roots in chapters 1-2. In chapters 3-5 it experienced some good fruit and growth in ministry. In chapters 6-7 we see God pull out the trimming shears and allow the church to experience its first real pain.
There was some dead wood of prejudice that was deep set in the hearts of the first believers. God knew that the racial tension in the church would ultimately destroy the mission of reaching the whole world. Through the life of Stephen, God was able to demonstrate what the Kingdom of God and God’s Love was all about.
This section is all about a young, Grecian Jew, who actually “got it” when it came to the message that Jesus proclaimed. Stephen preached a message that changed the world. Then he gave up his life for his Lord and became the first martyr for Jesus in history. We have much to be thankful for in the life and ministry of Stephen.
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Acts 2023 Project
During the summer of 2023 I am illustrating the book of Acts as a graphic novel. Return often to view the updated pages below. I will post the thumbnails and then replace them with the finished pages as they emerge. Enjoy!