Jesus could have saved Stephen from being stoned, and he chooses not to. Reflect on the idea that we are called to worship a God who allows us to experience difficult moments when we serve him. What is your response to this idea? Have you ever struggled with this notion?
Give thanks for Stephen’s sacrifice, for his death sparked the gospel to spread to the uttermost parts of the earth, including us. In light of this, how should we view the persecution of our faith? Have you ever experienced any form of persecution? What was that like?
The Jewish leaders are offended by Stephen’s message, but telling them the truth is the most loving thing he could do for them. Who in your life needs to hear the gospel? Are you willing to speak it to them verbally? If this idea is challenging to you, what makes you hesitate? What does that reveal about what is most important to you?
The spreading of the gospel is inherently both verbal and hostile. We must speak gospel truth to those who need it, and they must understand that they are at war with God.
The Jewish leaders react strongly to Stephen because their way of life is being threatened. Often, we also disregard facets of Scripture when it threatens what we value.
Even though his life is at stake, Stephen focuses on communicating the truth. Spreading the gospel is more important to him than self-preservation.
While Stephen’s message may not seem loving on the surface, telling his audience the truth is the most loving thing he does.
Those who come to Jesus must understand that salvation is not a transaction. It’s about moral, relational, and directional allegiance.
In his death, Stephen sees Jesus, and his words reflect Jesus’ love and forgiveness. He is free to forgive those who are persecuting him.
Scripture: Acts 6:8-7:60