#DailyDevotion We Are Called To Follow The Way Of Jesus Christ
Acts 7:2a, 51-6 2He answered, “Fellow Jews and fathers, listen. 51“How stubborn you are and pagan at heart and deaf to the truth! You’re always opposing the Holy Spirit. Your fathers did it, and so do you!…They killed those who announced, “The Righteous One will come!’ and now you betrayed and murdered Him…54While they were listening, the men of the council became furious and ground their teeth at him. 56But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. 56“Look!” he said, “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand.” 57But they yelled at the top of their voices, held their ears shut, and all together rushed at him. 58They threw him out of the city and started to stone him…59While they were stoning Stephen, he called, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then, kneeling, he called out loud, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
So we get a part of Stephen message here today. He had gone through the salvation history of Israel and it wasn’t pretty. At every turn the Israelites rebelled against the LORD God who had called them and saved them. Now at this point Stephen calls them pagans (uncircumcised at heart) and tells them they like their fathers have resisted the Holy Spirit. He calls them betrayers and murderers of God and the prophets. We can see he is right for the love and forgiveness of the LORD are not in their hearts, they do not repent, they do not seek forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit moves Steven to say, “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand.” Well that is too much for them. The one they are accusing of blaspheme now says he has a vision of God and the Son of Man. We know and believe Jesus is the Son of Man. The disciples taught Jesus is the Son of Man, i.e. the Son of Man depicted in Daniel seven who is co-equal to the LORD God Almighty, the Ancient of Days. Well with that they take him out to kill him for blaspheming, which he would have been if Jesus were not risen from the dead, if he were not the Son of Man, the Son of God. But Jesus is risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of God in glory.
Now we see Peter’s lesson from chapter two of his first letter active in Stephen. We see the words of Jesus active in Stephen. “If you would be my disciple pick up your cross and follow me” also the word of Christ to love those who hate you and to forgive those who sin against you. The words of Jesus from the cross must have been deeply taught to the early church, i.e. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Stephen follows his LORD Jesus Christ to persecution and death. As they are stoning Stephen to death he places his spirit in the hands of his Lord and he prays for those stoning him, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” Saul, who would become the apostle Paul and learn how much he must suffer for Jesus’ name’s sake stands as a witness to Stephen’s punishment and death. We see the prayer of a righteous man come to effect in Saul. In similar fashion we to should listen to Jesus’ words to pick up our cross and follow him. It probably won’t be unto death like Stephen. We may though be abused, insulted and the like unfairly. We like Stephen are called to forgive as Christ forgave those who put him to death. He should put our spirits into the hands of the LORD Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, grant us your Spirit that we on the day of trouble may not fight back or insult those who insult us but rather we entrust ourselves to your hands and pray for forgiveness for those who mean us harm. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.