The first martyr for Jesus


“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, … But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke… All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:8-15)

Stephen was a follower of Jesus that stood out for his witness. His face even glowed with the presence of the Spirit. This was absolutely powerful. And it was chilling for those opposed to this new Jesus movement. They were experiencing a force that was supernatural. Stephen was not operating on his own wisdom but by the direction of the Holy Spirit. He stood out in a crowd. He was fearless. He would become the first martyr for Jesus.

We are not Stephen. How would we hold up with the pressure that was put on him, and the early disciples. We might look for some compromise that would not threaten our life. We might say to ourselves that we were still faithful to Jesus even in our compromise of Scripture. These are not easy situations to navigate. But if we only think too this point, we are missing the point. We will be Stephen when the power of the Holy Spirit descends upon us like He did with him. There will be no hesitation. There will be no fear. We will march with Jesus, Stephen and all the witnesses of the Good News.

Heavenly Father, the call of Your Son, Jesus, to be witnesses is not easy for us. We need You to overwhelm us by Your Holy Spirit to be witnesses that You can be proud of. We desire to be such witnesses. Make it so, we pray.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.

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