Stephen’s boldness


“You stiff necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him — you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” (Acts 7:51-53)

At the beginning of chapter 7 Stephen does a nice job of recounting the history of Israel up through verse 50. At verse 51 his voice and tenor change dramatically, however. Exclamation points are added to the text to make this clear. He points his finger at the religious authorities and says, “You have murdered the One you have been waiting for!” As Stephen’s countenance changed with the boldness of God, so did that of the religious leaders’. They became hot with anger, while he was glowing with light.

Being the focus of an angry mob is no fun. Reason goes out the window. The truth that Stephen shared was not received. Yet, he did not back down. He did not compromise for his own sake. No, he was in that situation for the sake of Jesus. Will our witness ring as true as Stephen’s if we find ourselves challenged by unbelievers? Will we stand our ground as he did, no matter the cost? We will, by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Why? Because the world must know the truth about their Creator and Savior. Alleluia!

Heavenly Father, thank you for Stephen. You used him to Your Glory and call us to be witnesses like him. Give us the boldness to tell the world that they have resisted the Holy Spirit and rejected their Savior, Jesus. Let us be witnesses to open eyes to all You have and are doing to preserve this world and prepare eternity.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

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