William Andrew Dillard
Who was Stephen in the New Testament? Why is he mentioned? He must have done something that is so right. Think with me for a minute.
Stephan is mentioned first in the list of six men filled with the Holy Spirit whom the first church set aside as deacons to relieve the apostles from administering material things. Acts 6:5.
The name “Stephen” is spelled practically the same in both English and Greek, indicating it is one of those words that is transliterated rather than translated. It means “A Crown,” or “That which surrounds.” Most of the time “crown” designates a headdress made from gold, of a monarch or other important individual, perhaps with many inset stones, and designates the wearer as one with great authority and/or responsibility. As a headdress, it symbolically indicates that which surrounds the head or the occupation of the mind. This the way it is used often in the scriptures.
Often Paul referred to the churches as his crown of joy and rejoicing. He told Timothy that God had a crown of righteousness laid up for him. He spoke of the crown of glory and honor. Solomon said grandchildren were a crown to old men. Of course these were not literal headdresses, but the certainly did occupy the mind, and told the story of life.
But the most telling crown of all time is the crown that Jesus wore on Golgotha. It was made of thorns, and symbolically portrayed the awfulness of our Savior’s experience on our behalf. The pain of his head was so real, but not so severe as the pain of his mind and heart as He bore our sins.
Now, back to Stephen. His being full of the Holy Spirit tells us the things of God, and goodness was predominate in his mind. He preached most effectively, and worked miracles among the townspeople. When warned to stop it, he refused to do so. At his trial, he preached one of the longest and most thorough messages in the New Testament, recorded in Acts chapter seven.
Stephen was stoned to death by a group of religious hypocrites. But heaven was looking on, and allowed him to see that it was. In death, he became the first of millions of Christian martyrs.. He remained true to the faith, and gave a testimony that Saul of Tarsus could not shake, and won the incorruptible crowns of glory, righteousness, and life. He would not be deterred by the forces of evil, and folks that is so right! What is the crown you are wearing?