It is really easy to read scripture and point fingers at the Pharisees. Those men who lied, schemed, and betrayed. Those teachers who knew it all, yet in the end knew nothing. Those leaders who, with greedy and selfish hearts, sentenced Jesus to death on a cross.
In this story, Stephen is accused of blaspheming scripture. His response is simply to tell the story of the nation of Israel from its start to the current day. At the end of his narrative he exposes the true hearts of the Pharisees, and they respond by stoning him.
Stephen describes the Pharisees as a “stiff-necked people” and “always refusing the Holy Spirit”. The question we must ask when faced with this text is, “Am I a Pharisee?” Are we ready to follow the Holy Spirit and the truth He brings at the expense of our prestige, social status, and even past beliefs? For some, this may mean an end to a lifetime of legalism and judgment. For others, this may mark a beginning to discipline and study. Whatever it may look like, we must all, through prayer and petition, ask the Lord to open our eyes and keep our spirits supple. We must absorb all that He has to reveal to us so that we do not become a reiteration of the religious group that we just love to hate.