Peter — Stephen’s message & martyrdom — Looking to Jesus & forgiving wrongdoers
Yesterday we saw the power God released through the new deacons, especially Stephen, who performed miracles because God was with him. Today we see the depth of Stephen’s understanding of his history, as well as his grasp of God’s purpose as it was fulfilled in Jesus. This is no traditionalist; he knows what God is doing today and can contextualize it in history.
As a result, the religious leaders who value history as the validation of their power, are incensed when Stephen speaks the truth about them. they drag him out and stone him (an illegal act for the Jews under Roman occupation).
Stephen looks to Jesus (who is alive in heaven and is clearly close to those who are being martyred for their faith in Him). Stephen prays essentially the same prayer Jesus prayed when He was crucified – “Father, forgive them, for they don’t understand what they are doing.”
It is a rare, and supernatural gift to be able to care more for your murderers than for your own life. This makes the power and love of God tangible!
Today, you and I are unlikely to die for our faith, but how can you show God’s love to those around you?
Have a great day!