MAY 16 READING…ACTS 7
Chapter 6 ends by saying that when the religious leaders looked steadfastly at Stephen, his face was like that of an angel. Something magnificent happened to Stephen, the Holy Spirit filled him that he might speak the words of God in a mighty and powerful way. Chapter 7 begins with Stephen recounting the history of God’s work in and through the nation of Israel. He wanted them to see the hand of God that has always been on Israel, and that if properly understood they could see the plan of God fulfilled in the coming of Messiah, Jesus. Stephen talked about the leadership of Moses and the rebellion of the nation of Israel against God. Stephen takes them all the way to the time when Solomon built the Temple for the Lord…then he stops.
Stephen does not continue with his history lesson for these Jewish religious leaders, he does not carry them to the fulfillment of God’s plan for them in Christ Jesus. He looks at them and calls them stiff-necked, uncircumcised in the heart and ears. He said they continued to resist the Holy Spirit. He accused them of being descendants of those who killed the prophets who foretold of the coming of Jesus. This angered them to the place where they gnashed their teeth. Stephen stops speaking to them and being filled with the Holy Spirit looks up to heaven and says, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God”. They could not stand it, so they picked up stones, while Saul stood there holding their coats…approving of what they were doing…and they killed Stephen. Stephen’s last words were very similar to those of Jesus on the cross…” Lord, do not charge the with this sin.” I love the word picture here and the thought that when one is martyred for the cause of Christ, Jesus stands and welcomes them home. We have an eternal home, and a promised eternal reward, we have no need to fear what lost, ungodly, God hating people will do to us.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW’S READING…ACTS 8