First episode of a six-episode series called Expanding the Table. In this episode, we explore the story of Stephen, one of the first deacons and martyrs in the growing early church. This story, especially Stephen’s speech, is filled with Old Testament imagery as well as Jesus’ teaching. The reality is that Stephen challenged the exact religious leaders that Jesus also challenged. The same religious leaders that assisted the Romans in crucifying Jesus. Stephen challenges the very notions of how, when and whom are to worship.
In this six-week series, we look at how the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion went from disciples to apostles. Jesus instructed them that they were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But this commission wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Conflict arose with the growing numbers of followers. They had to figure out how to be a gathered community of Jesus across the world. They had to discover what it means to expand the table. Being a follower of Jesus no longer meant that you came from a certain people, place, or nation.