There is a section in Acts 6 that shows how sometimes the things people argue about aren’t really the things they are thinking about.
Then they secretly instigated men who said,“We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”
I can count three times these guys change their story. As you pick apart their words, it gets a little more revealing every time.
- Their story is that Stephen is against Moses and God. The Law is a big deal and it came from God to Moses, so those two are the sore spots in Judaism. You can talk ideas all day long, but don’t talk against them specifically
- Their story is that Stephen is against the holy place and the law. Ok, now we are getting more specific, and seeing that it isn’t really God or Moses that Stephen is talking about, but the holy place and the law. The building is a building. It represented a lot to the Jewish people, but at the same time the building they were in was far beyond God’s design and had a ton of improvements from an evil Gentile ruler. Kind of like hanging a “Brought to you by Jack Daniels and Victoria Secret” backlit electric sign on your church. Sure, it was intended to be a holy place, but it was funded and built up by evil.
- (This one is really the best.) Their story is that Jesus of Nazareth (whom they killed and claimed His body was stolen) is going to destroy the temple and change the customs of Moses. If their story that Jesus’ body was not really back from the dead but rather was stolen, then how is this possible? And have you seen the temple?! A man can’t tear that thing down anyway! I think it is so interesting that they bring that as an accusation because it’s either preposterous to think something is possible or there is some genuine fear.
All in all, the truth comes out that God isn’t really the point of this at all, but their building and their customs.