“As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”Acts of the Apostles 7:59-60 NLT
If you read this story of Stephen you must go back to read Acts 6:8 onward till today’s portion, I encourage you to do just that. But to summarize, Stephen was arrest by the religious leaders. Some of them made a complaint to the high priest as they didn’t like the message of Jesus that Stephen was preaching. So he was brought in for questioning.
This gave Stephen a unique opportunity to share about Jesus with a captive audience who needed to hear what he was going to say. Stephen knew who he was talking to and knew what he would need to say to reach them. The stories of the patriarch heroes like Moses, David and Solomon would be something these leaders would relate to. Their plights and stories were important to these leaders. So Stephen was able to relate to them on their level. Then Stephen did something that they didn’t like, he related it all back to Jesus the Messiah. He made a point to return it to the reason he was out speaking to the people. He didn’t relent or given he, he kept giving glory to God, he was given a vision of Jesus at the right hand of God, right before they stoned him. Even as he was dying he knew that he must forgive those who were his murderers.
So what do we take away from this account of Stephen?
- We will get opportunités to speak about Jesus, don’t fight it, flow with it.
- Ask the spirit to help us relate to those whom we are speaking with. If you know that you will be in a situation prior it never hurts to prepare as well.
- Always make the end focus the need for relationship with Jesus.
- Even if they reject what you share with them don’t get nary or resentful, but forgive and love them.
- Remember not all seeds will catch and grow. But if you read the story you will see an important man named Saul who was in attendance. Some seeds will grow abundantly.
Jesus, we know thathere in our safe countries that sharing your faith most likely won’t get us killed. We pray for those who do face death in other countries. I wonder sometimes why we are so hesitant to share our faith, I could understand It if death was an option. Jesus give us a heart for those around us, give us opportunities over and over again to share about you, help us relate and understand what they are going through so we can meet them at their level. We want to be effective in sharing your message of love. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me and I want to do more. Amen