READING: Acts 7-8
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: The religious leaders of Stephen’s day were so concerned about his doing signs and wonders in Jerusalem that they falsely accused him of blaspheming God and Moses (Acts 6:11). They stirred up false witnesses against him, drug him before the Sanhedrin, and interrogated him. In the midst of all this, his face shone like an angel, indicating the peace he maintained (Acts 6:15).
All of Acts 7 is his response to their accusations, beginning with these words, “Brothers and fathers, listen . . . .” Though his response ended with his death (where he again simply slept in the peace of a faithful martyr’s death — Acts 7:60), his telling of the story is fascinating.
- He spoke of Bible characters like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, and Solomon.
- He quoted portions of Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Exodus 2, Exodus 3, Deuteronomy 18, Exodus 32, Amos 5, and Isaiah 66.
- He noted such details as the number of Hebrews who went to Egypt with Jacob and Moses’ age when he struck down the Egyptian.
- He simply knew the stories, and he was prepared to connect all those stories to the coming and death of Jesus.
Even under persecution, Stephen knew the stories so well that he could describe Hebrew history culminating in the coming of the Redeemer. Surely the Holy Spirit spoke through Stephen, but his knowledge of the Word was nonetheless impressive.
Here are my questions for me today: if I were under persecution, (1) would I have such knowledge on my lips that I could tell the story with no Bible in front of me, and (2) would I have such peace as I told the story that my face looked angelic and I could rest in death if that were the price I paid?
I have much more to learn, and I still have much room for growth to reach this place. Pray for me.
ACTION STEPS: If you’re not already memorizing scripture, make a commitment today to do so. You never know when you’ll need those words on your lips.
PRAYER: “Thank You for Your Word. Thank you that it describes not only the lives, but also the deaths of your saints. Through Your Word and Your Spirit, prepare me for whatever I will face in the future.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Acts 9-10