At his death, Stephen looked to Christ
When the leaders heard this, they became furious. They were so mad they were grinding their teeth at Stephen. But Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God's right side. He said, "Look! I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at God's right side." Then they shouted loudly and covered their ears and all ran at Stephen. They took him out of the city and began to throw stones at him to kill him.... Acts 7: 54-57
READ Acts 7:1-8:1a
SITUATION Stephen's speech summarized Jewish history. God had blessed the Hebrew nation magnificently. Stephen recalled, but once again their leaders had turned against God.
OBSERVATION Stephen's speech repeatedly referred to human rebelliousness toward God. It shows how desperately we try to avoid God's truth--even to the extent of killing the messenger. At his death, Stephen looked to Christ.
INSPIRATION The story of young Matthew Huffman came across my desk the week I was writing this chapter. He was the six-year-old son of missionaries in Salvador, Brazil. One morning, he began to complain of fever. As his temperature went up, he began losing his eyesight. His mother and father put him in the car and raced him to the hospital.
As they were driving and he was lying on his mother's lap, he did something his parents will never forget. He extended his hand in the air. His mother took it and he pulled it away. He extended it again. She again took it and he pulled it away. She again took it and he again pulled it back and reached into the air. confused, the mother asked her son, "What are you reaching for , Matthew?"
"I'm reaching for Jesus' hand," he answered. And with those words he closed his eyes and slid into a coma from which he never would awaken. He died two days later, a victim of bacterial meningitis.
Of all the things he didn't learn in his short life, he'd learned the most important: who to reach for in the hour of death. (From And the Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Have you developed the practice of constantly looking to Jesus? If you have, you will reach to him during your most difficult hours. If you haven't, ask him to accompany you in all your thoughts.
EXPLORATION Spiritual Battle -- Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 1:27-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:12; James1 :2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers