The story of Stephen can best be appreciated as a story over simplifying it to a single practical lesson.
The Stephen’s story starts with a long sermon. Stephen’s response to his accusers is a sermon that sums the story of the Hebrew bible because his accusers have reduced their life-with-God into two statements: one’s view of Moses and one’s tribute to the Temple. By reducing life-with-God into two statements, they are acting like the people who worshiped the golden-calf at the foot of Mount Sinai, missing out on the true God in Christ.
When the accusers stone Stephen rather than repent, Stephen sees a vision of Christ standing next to the Father. It is a powerful and tender image of Christ’s love for Stephen. This vision enables Stephen to pray, like Christ, for the forgiveness of his murderers.
Saul is a benefactor of that prayer. For prayer of forgiveness is not simply subjective. God pardons Saul, calling him to a second chance and a missionary life.
Stephen’s life challenges and encourages us in these 3 things: 1-to know the whole story of God, 2-to know Christ’s love 3-to pray and forgive those who wrong us.
- What is your discipline for scripture reading?
- Have you ever had a vision of Christ?
- Is there anyone you should forgive?
“Lord, thank you for standing with me.”