Stoned for Faith
In the weeks following Easter, we hear from the second volume of Luke’s biblical history, The Acts of the Apostles. It describes how the salvation promised to Israel was extended to the Gentiles. Luke recounts the experiences of the early Christians.
The Gospel According To Luke
Luke’s narration on the Seventh Sunday of Easter (Acts 7:55-60) includes the moving scene of Stephen’s death by stoning. Stephen was a Jew who preached God's kingdom. “Filled with grace and power” he spoke in front of the Sanhedrin in a lengthy speech that described Christianity’s break from its Jewish mold. People from the assembly came forward to debate with him but “they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke” (Acts 6:10).
The Martyerdom Of Stephen
At the conclusion of his speech, he called them “stiff necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears” accusing them of being against the Holy Spirit. Stephen saw the reality of Jesus with God in heaven. His outspokenness stirred up some people to bring false accusations toward him. They rejected him and “threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.” As Stephen cried out to Jesus to receive his spirit, he called for the Lord to “not hold the sins of his aggressors against them.”
As a saint, he is a role model for us. He followed the Holy Spirit and died with the words of forgiveness on his lips. Our goal should be to forgive our aggressors so that when our journey on earth comes to an end, we too will see Jesus standing at the right hand of God.