We Have a Barn Burner!

One of my favorite things about the NCAA Tournament are the upsets. When a higher ranked team is tied up with a Cinderella team with just a couple minutes left is when I’m fully engaged. Even if I have no connection to either team, it’s so exciting to see who pulls out the win. When the game is neck-and-neck, it’s referred to as a “barn burner” – a close game where even the commentators are unsure about the outcome. Now if it’s a team I’m a fan of (ahem, the Wildcats), I’m just undone hoping for the win. These kinds of games can get “chippy” as the tension continues to rise and the clock counts down. 

In this part of Stephen’s defense, it’s clearly getting chippy in the barn burner of an exchange.

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors; You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.!" (Acts 7:51-53)

“You stiff-necked people”… Ya’ll, I can’t even! Doesn’t this just paint the clearest image? Those leaders with heads held high enough to look down their noses at everyone beneath them!

Possibly sensing that the crowd is turning violent and that he’s running out of time, Stephen rapidly pulls everything together and relates the main point to his audience. His opponents rejected Jesus, Moses’ promised prophet. They killed Jesus, just like their forefathers killed the prophets God sent throughout history. Stephen doesn’t want to see the temple destroyed, but anyone who values the temple over the Messiah is no friend.

The clock is running out of time, the players are tired, and you could cut the tension with a knife… and Stephen finds himself in a barn burner for sure.

Lord, we all find ourselves caught up in tensions of life. Help us keep our focus on You and not the clock, the opponents, or the score. Those are just distractions. Help quiet my spirit so You can work in my life. Thank You for being not only in charge of the universe and all it holds… but also of every detail of my life. Amen

By Carrie Peterson

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