Bible Commentary: “Stephen” Saint Stephen’s Day

December 26, 2012 at 6:31 am | Posted in Bible Commentary | Leave a comment

“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8 NIV)

In the Christmas song, “Good King Wencelsaus” the king went out on the feast of Stephen. Today is the feast of Stephen. The gospel writer, Luke introduces us to Stephen, “This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5 NIV).   The Apostles chose Stephen as one man among 7 to help in the daily distribution of food among the widows. But Stephen was full of faith and the Holy Spirit and he began to do great wonders and miraculous signs among the people (Acts 6:8 NIV).

Now you would think that people would be appreciative of this kind of behavior but no, “Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)–Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:9-12 NIV).

So before the Sanhedrin Stephen tells them all about how God dealt with His people from Abraham through the Prophets and then calls them stiff-necked. “When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:54-60 NIV).

Child of God – Stephen was the first martyr of the New Testament and he behaved in a manner equal to Jesus on the cross. He gave his spirit to God and asked God to forgive their sin. If Stephen could forgive as these stones were being pitched at him, breaking his bones and slowly killing him then we, who will never endure such pain, should forgive those who hurt us with their words. Jesus is watching and this type of behavior captures His attention. Let us forgive with the forgiveness of God and live our lives in peace and good will among men.

Our prayer:
Lord, help me to remember not to focus on what men can do or say to me that can hurt my feelings. Those things are really not important when I can see life with a new perspective like Stephen did; as far as loosing his very life on hands of men and still forgive them. Give me Your Grace to be able to love others with the kind of love that covers multitude of faults considering myself that I won’t be tempted to hurt others too.

If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I repent of all my sins and open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you have any questions please contact us. We would love to hear from you

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