Putting God In A Box
As Stephen winds down his sermon before the Sanhedrin, he concludes with a powerful critique of their flawed conceptions about God, holy space, and worship. At the heart of Stephen’s critique is the charge that these Jews operate with a false conception about God, thinking that He must be confined to the Jerusalem temple. To expose this false understanding, Stephen quotes from Isaiah 66-1ff which highlights the transcendence and sovereignty of God. Instead of reverencing the Lord they have put Him in a box and confined Him to their sacred space and have offered worship focused on the earthly horizon rather than the heavenly. These final charges not only clear Stephen from the false accusations made against him, they also prepare the way for the charges he is now ready to bring against them.