stephen is martyred
After being accused of blasphemy, Stephen recounts Israel’s own history denying God. From Joseph’s betrayal, to Moses being rejected, the worship of the golden calf, and serving other gods in the wilderness despite witnessing God delivering Israel by parting the Red Sea.
“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.” v.51-53
The crowd is enraged and they bring Stephen into the street and stone him to death. Before he goes, he shouts out that he sees Christ standing at the right hand of God and proceeds to pray for his executioners.
“While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.” v.59-60
Let’s Talk About It
Good vs. Evil
“Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12. That’s why Stephen prayed for his murderers. What would your tolerance, patience, grace, mercy, and love look like if this truth was a part of your reality?
Did you know?
As of January 2021, 1 in 8 Christians worldwide live in countries where they may be arrested or even killed for their faith in Christ. Being a Christian in North Korea is a death sentence. Read more here.