The post is a mix of history, Scripture, and theology, and Bill does this kind of thing better than most.
In the post, he steps us through the events of Acts 6-8 including the speech and death of Stephen and the scattering of the church (except the apostles) because of persecution. Now only does Bill place these events chronologically within history, he also discusses their theological significance.
So, on the day they heard Stephen’s “blasphemy”, they had him executed to set an example, and quite an effective one, evidently. In the moment, however, at some psychological level, this execution also must have been partly to cover up their own suspicions of self-guilt. Whatever their internal thoughts, the Sanhedrin evidently decided that killing Stephen was a sacrifice needed for Israel’s good. That makes him a “scapegoat” in the absolutely most classical (if not absolutely the most biblical) sense.
Next, all but twelve Christians fled Jerusalem. Not only Stephen, but the Church was therefore sent out of the camp, exiled to wander away, in the Wilderness. Not only Stephen, but the Church became Israel’s – well, Jerusalem’s – Scapegoat.
Next, Bill discusses the implications of the church being scattered, and how this actually resulted in a harvest for God. He connects this back to the timing of the event, around the feast of booths (Sukkot).
Very interesting indeed…
What do you think?