He Was Concerned For Them

Happy Thursday! Today is our final read in Acts chapter seven. These verses end with the leaders response, Stephen’s cryout to the Lord and the introduction of a notorious persecutor of Christians. Join me as we read verses 54-60. Have a wonderful day.

Bible Verse – Acts 7:54-60 NLT

54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage.[m] 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him  58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.[n]

59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”

Key things I want to point out:

  • The Jewish leaders were angry.
  • In their anger, the leaders refused to listen to Stephen – by covering their ears and shouting.
  • The leaders killed Stephen because he spoke the truth
  • Introduction of Saul who later becomes Paul.
  • Stephen was nearly dead, but he called out to the Lord asking for compassion on his murderers.

Reflection

Stephen was up against a Jewish system that was established for centuries. The leaders refused the notion that Jesus was the Messiah and that Jesus was sent to save and reconcile all people (not just the Jews) back to God.

The Jewish leaders heard the gospel message, but they refused to listen with their hearts and in their anger – they sinned by killing Stephen. Stephen’s cry-out to the Lord Jesus for compassion and for his murderer’s sin not to be counted against them.

Sister and brothers there will be times when hearts will turn away from hearing, listening, and following Jesus Christ – but pray anyways, pray for them (e.g., family members, co-workers, world leaders, etc.). There will be times when we will be doing everything that God has called/purposed us to do and we may receive persecution aimed at us – keep doing what God has called you to do anyway.

Your call/purpose is greater than you can ever imagine.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for your love toward us. Thank you for your continued guidance and strength. Lord Jesus, thank you for taking our place on the cross and for an opportunity for forgiveness of our sins for all people who believe in you. Lord, we believe you are the Messiah and ask for you to forgive us for the sins we knowingly and unknowingly committed against you. Lord, we want to be hearers and followers of your word. Give us hearts that are soft and obedient to your word. Help us to love and have compassion for all humanity – bring forth racial reconciliation, mercy, unity, and justice. Lord, we pray for those who are filled with anxiety and suffering from depression and ask that you calm their spirits and awaken their minds to the peace that is found in you. Lord, make us bold and empower us to share your word, and live a life that resembles your love in the world. Continue to heal those who are grieving, brokenhearted, sick, recovering and/or suffering with pain. Lord, touch them and comfort their families. Lord, touch the church and continue to move the church as you did the Acts church. Fan the flame of the Holy Spirit within pastors, church leaders and those you have called to share the truth of the gospel message and remind us that your word does not return void. In Jesus name, amen.

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Bible Referencehttp://www.biblegateway.com

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