We’re at ACTS chapter 7, and the devotion come to us from Simon Bardoni, who leads our 6PM congregation in South Kensington, London. If you haven’t yet read Acts 7, stop and read it here now.
Monkey see, monkey do…
Stephen, the first recorded martyr of the early church, having just finished his epic sermon on Old Testament highlights, brings it home with an alter call reminiscent of one of the Old Testament prophets themselves (i.e., the kind that’s liable to get a prophet killed!) Besides his unbelievable boldness and obvious disregard for man’s approval, here are two lessons we can all take away from Stephen’s spirituality:
- “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (v.55) The Holy Spirit opened his eyes, and enabled Stephen to see Jesus! Not the enraged mob, or the large stones being hurled towards his skull – Stephen looked up and saw his Master standing in all of His glory, victorious over death. Biblical spirituality enables us to see Jesus’ eternal victory even in our most desperate hour.
- “And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (v.60) This is insane! Stephen is seconds away from death, and with his last breath he prays for his assailants! This is unfathomable! No wait… this is just like Jesus! (see Luke 23:34) Biblical spirituality enables us to not only see Jesus, but even more importantly, act like Jesus.
Lord, thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit who empowers us to have a clear view of Jesus, especially when life gets ugly. And thank you, Holy Spirit, for empowering us to act like Jesus in a world that would just as soon hurl rocks than blow kisses at people like Stephen (and us). Amen.