As the church grows, some culturally Greek Jews complain that their widows are not being served food, and that preference is given to native Jews. The apostles want to focus on their ministry of praying and preaching about Jesus. They solve this problem by establishing an order of servants, or “Deacons,” to manage fair distribution of food and finances to the needy in the church. Seven men of godly character are chosen to serve as Deacons. One of them is a man named Stephen.
The gospel spreads. Even priests begin to believe in Jesus.
Stephen is full of faith and the Holy Spirit. He also performs miracles in Jerusalem. This draws the opposition of a religious group named the Synagogue of the Freedmen, who argue with Stephen about God and scripture. Stephen is both wise and led by the Spirit in the arguments he makes, so the Freedmen arrange for other men to lie about Stephen committing blasphemy. This leads to Stephen’s arrest, where he is brought before the Council of Sadducees and Pharisees under the charge that he is an enemy of the Jewish people, for supposedly saying that Jesus will destroy the Temple and change Moses’s Law.
The Council looks to Stephen to defend himself against these accusations. They see his face shining like an angel’s.