Stephen proclaims the gospel and is stoned. Saul is introduced
- Why do you think Stephen summarised Old Testament history which Jewish leaders would have known so well?
- Stephen’s final prayer (v 59) might remind you of another final prayer.
- What can Stephen’s witness, prayer and death teach us?
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Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'
Stephen: My humble story
I became a completely different person when I accepted Christ as Saviour.
Everything was so new; new churches being formed, new groups of people gathering together, everyone contributing what they had and people needing special care. When they came to me and asked if I’d take on some leadership responsibilities, I was honoured and humbled. Anything to help the cause.
They chose seven of us. As we did what was needed and talked much about Christ, many came to faith. It was wonderful! But of course many didn’t like what was happening. Perhaps because I appeared to be the ‘head’ of the seven, they arrested me . In my former life, I would have been frightened. It really amazed me how calm I actually was.There was a deep sense of peace within.
I had a wonderful opportunity to speak to all of the Jewish leaders – hoping something would sink in. In fact, I felt it wasn’t really me speaking at all, but God speaking through me. I couldn’t help being strong in what I said. After all, it was a matter of life or death; and it’s crucial to hold to our convictions about Christ.
Deep down, I knew what was going to happen to me. I knew it would be physically painful – the stoning. But the greater pain was in seeing people’s hardened faces, sensing their hardened hearts. However, I held on to hope – that one day, my death would have meaning and significance for even one other person.
I saw Saul standing there, watching. Maybe my death, my martyrdom, was for him. Could it be? Maybe it would speak to someone years and years after my death. Could it be?
All for Jesus. No fear. For as I saw Christ standing at the right hand of God, waiting for me to come to him, I had peace. And I have the full assurance that he stands, waiting, for each one of you. Keep your eyes fixed on him. Then you’ll also have a wonderful faith story to tell!
Beverly IvanyTags: Acts