Accused of blasphemy by Jewish rulers, Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, the resurrected Christ concludes his address to the Sanhedrin. The accused servant of the Lord would now turn the table on his accusers, calling them out as murderers for sending Yeshua to His death on the cross.
“51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51)
Stephen calls his accusers stubborn, unwavering to and unwilling to believe the truth about the resurrection of the Christ. Their hearts were hardened, and their ears in denial.
“52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” (Acts 7:52-53)
Previous Jewish rulers made a habit of persecuting and slating prophets who predicted the coming the the Christ. Here, Stephen confronts members of the Sanhedrin by claiming they ignored the law of Moses, delivered to the Hebrew nation through angels, as well the disciple boldly accuses the Jewish rulers of murdering Jesus, the promised Messiah.
“54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.” (Acts 7:54)
The members of the Sanhedrin were outraged by Stephen’s accusation, and their anger drive them to primal rage, which proved to be pure evil. Stephen has responded to his accusers led by the Holy Spirit, not knowing the outcome. His accusers were not believers, a governing body among the Jews who were not only unrepentant, but also ignorant to the truth about the life, death and resurrection of the risen Christ.
“55 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, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56)
The disciple, full of the Holy Spirit, as he stood before and accusers and faced a penalty that would surely include death, found himself in the presence of the Lord, in which he found courage and strength.
“57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:57-58)
When they noticed the peace about him in spite of their persecution, they were outraged and endeavored to execute Stephen even though he had not been found guilty by Roman courts. Led by evil, the disciple’s accusers carried him out of the city where they planned to execute him according to Jewish custom, by stoning him to death.
According to tradition, those who witnessed Stephen’s crime were called upon to throw the accused face firs,t down a pit 12 feet deep, then, if the accused survived, the witnesses were to cast the first stones. Here, Luke writes that the witnesses showed their protest or excitement, as well as desire for accurate throwing by taking off their cloaks and throwing them at the mob leader, Saul or Tarsus.
“59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)
As he was being stoned, enlightened by the vision of his eternal life along side his Father, Stephen cried out to the Lord to have mercy on his killers. Then, he died a martyr’s death, to be rewarded in Heaven where the disciple will rejoice for all eternity, the fulfillment of God’s promise to all believers. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre