Last week we talked about the danger in asking “Why”…? More specifically, asking God “Why”. But have you ever wondered about the rest of the story?
When I realized my arrow didn’t hit that big, giant, monstrous, White-tail Buck…and I stopped myself from fashioning a noose and slipping it up over a tree limb…I also wondered where he was. Not to pursue (experience has taught me that chasing game only leads to blisters), but a simple thought of ‘where could a monster like that…go’. Bear hunting a couple years ago I watched a 7′ midnight black bruin sneak into my clearing and stand up and look around. He then disappeared without a sound. To where….I wondered? How can something that big disappear in two strides and be gone from all my senses? When I slip out of my treestand in the dark and return home, do the deer investigate…do they stay away for hours…are they oblivious…do they use the squirrels as look outs? Game trail cameras only shoot images of whatever walks in front of the camera…I should set up cameras that shoot in multiple different directions, including at my own stand…maybe I’ll have a clearer picture of what happens next.
The Bible tells many stories and some of those stories have always left me with this question, “And then what happened…?” One of these stories involves the “Council”, or the chief priests, scribes, and Jewish elders. These were the religious leaders…or the men called upon to make rulings about the Torah (the Law). After Jesus was arrested, it says in Mark 14:53, “They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together.”
In Acts 6: 12 it says, “And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.” Stephen, if you remember, was the first deacon of the church. A Godly man full of the Spirit in stature and deed. Now we all know the story about what happened to Jesus and Stephen…they were both put to death.
Now…I’m not sure exactly how much time had elapsed between the trial of Jesus and the trial of Stephen. But ‘not much’…would be a safe answer. It is not beyond the scope of reason to suggest that some of the elders, scribes, priests…presided over both trials. Both Jesus and Stephen used similar language in their trials that really set the ‘Council’ into a tizzy (tizzy is an old Littick word which means ‘crazy with harmful intent’). Remember, these were people who memorized, if not all, large portions of the Scriptures…! They knew what the Law said (apparently did not understand all of it, but that is a story for another day).
In Mark 14:61-62 it says, “But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
This statement sent the ‘Council’ into a tizzy because they understood what Jesus was referring too. In fact, I wonder how many of them started reciting from Daniel Chapter 7 at that moment…? You see, Daniel…after he escaped from the Lion’s Den unharmed, had a vision of God’s glory and dominion and the coming Messiah. In Daniel 7: 13-14 it says, “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven, One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days, And was presented before Him.“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language, Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
Those Jewish keepers of the Law, recognized the fulfillment of Daniels vision in the words of Jesus. I wonder what happened next…meaning, after the resurrection, when Jesus ascended on the clouds to sit down at the right hand of Power…how many of the council saw the disturbance of the clouds in the sky…how many caught a glimpse of heaven opened up to receive the King of Kings…how many doubted their decision? Jesus did say in His testimony, “you shall see…”.
OK…on to the trial of Stephen, in Acts 7:55-56 it says, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
This statement was affirmation that Jesus did indeed ascend on the clouds to sit down at the right hand of Power, held dominion over all nations and received Glory from the Ancient of Days. I’m pretty sure some of those Jewish elders recognized those words. I’m pretty sure they had heard them before. I’m pretty sure they not only only recalled the vision of Daniel…but the words and deeds of Jesus Christ…the Messiah…the Anointed One.
And then what happened…?
Yes…Stephen gets stoned. Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul) was a ringleader, of sorts, of the stoning of Stephen, but that’s not what I mean. What happened weeks later to the members of the Council…maybe months later…maybe years later? They all witness the miracles of the apostles, they see the growth of a religious sect we call today…Christianity. Did they ever doubt their verdict against Jesus and Stephen? The Bible doesn’t say…but I wonder. You see, in 1 Timothy 2: 3-4 it says, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Who wrote that?
The Apostle Paul…formerly Saul, the ringleader of the stoning of Stephen. If Saul can come to a knowledge of the truth…how many others did?
I know that particular black bear came back to that particular treestand…because there is a picture of him sitting in it. I also know the Holy Spirit will lay heavy on the heart of a man who feels remorse for his actions and lead him to the knowledge of the truth. How many…I wonder?