“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And said, Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him.
The witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”. Then he knelt and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
The stoning of Stephen caused even more persecution against the church at Jerusalem. But Stephen’s faith was a testimony and example to the other believers. As a result, as they scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria they continued to spread the good news of Christ. One young man, present at Stephen’s stoning and an enemy of Christ’s followers, would later become the most significant missionary for the early church.
Never underestimate God’s ability to change a Saul into a Paul, and to take what looks like a defeat and create an unstoppable mission movement.
- How does Stephen’s martyrdom jive with your understanding of what should happen to those who love and are obedient to God?
- Is there someone you know that is incredibly hard for you to believe that they could ever change?
- Take some time to pray for that person, for your own faith, and for the boldness to share with them.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?