Reading: Acts 7: 55-60
Verse 55: 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.
Stephen is certainly one filled with the Holy Spirit. He has taught and performed miracles. He stood in the Sanhedrin and successfully defended and explained the faith he professes. He is so filled with the Holy Spirit that he even condemns the most powerful body of Jewish leaders for their role in the death of Christ. This so outrages them that they are furious and gnash their teeth. What happens next is today’s reading.
Stephen is a man who will stand up for his faith and belief in God no matter what. He is a man who will speak the truth, even if it offends others a bit. He is a man living life fully under the control of the Holy Spirit. He is a man who trusts his very life to God’s plans and purposes. All I can say is, “Wow”. To look in the mirror and to see a slight reflection of who Stephen was would give me pause.
Who do you know that lives like Stephen? Is there someone in your life that lives fully trusting God and fully obedient to God’s will? These men and women are few and far between. Most Christians, myself included, dabble with this type of faith. We may step outside our routine or our comfort zones every once in a while to make an impact for God. We may show a depth of faith that at times pleases God.
Just as they are preparing to drag him out to stone him, 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”. God blesses him with this vision and the one to come next. It strengthens Stephen. It reassures him. It affirms what he has spent his last years preaching and doing. As they stone him, he calls for Jesus to receive his spirit and prays for those killing him. He dies just as he lived – bearing witness to his God to the very end. In doing so, Stephen continues to bring much glory to God. May we go and do likewise today.