Bible Study Lessons: Acts 7:54-60
This is the story of Stephen the Martyr.While delivering his speech to the Sanhedrin Stephen caused such an uproar that the crowd became a mob. In these verses from Acts, Stephen is stoned to death because of his belief in Christ. How does this relate to modern times? More so than many would imagine.
Let’s look at the Scripture and see how the day unfolds.
Stephen is Stoned to Death in Acts
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.
When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. – Acts 7:54-60 NASB
The Stoning of Stephen and the Persecuted Church
The verses above are short in length, massive in content. As the story of the New Testament unfolds we see that Stephen is stoned for the very same reason Jesus was put to death – blasphemy.
Stephen ever uttered similar words as Christ. He asked forgiveness for those who were killing him. Why? Because he knew they did not realize what they were doing.
Stephen told the truth. But those who listened were not looking for truth, just an excuse to carry out their will.
How does the stoning of Stephen relate to current times?
In the United States people are criticizing Christians as “narrow minded” because of their belief. These are mostly prosecuted by misdemeanors such as refusal to carry out laws conflicting with the Christian religion.
In some cases, believers are actually going to jail because they refuse to let the state contradict what the Bible teaches. I never thought I’d see this day come.
Then, there are the horrendous acts being committed against Christians abroad which are condoned by our own government.
An example is Pastor Saeed who was released from Iran. He was held in a terrible jail, beaten and tormented because of his faith.
Thousands of Christians are being wounded and killed around the globe as we speak. Men, women and children cry out with no hope of escape.
Why am I mentioning this?
Enter – Saul
First, I want to quote Stephen as he breathed his final breath;
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”
This is similar to what Jesus said on the cross, isn’t it? You see, Stephen wanted to live and suffer as Christ did. He gave his life without hesitation in order to reach those who were in the dark.
I don’t know how many people may have later thought about Stephen and his speech to receive salvation. But I do know of one – Saul.
Who is Saul?
“and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”
You most likely already know this, but Saul the Jew (persecutor of Christians) later became Paul (the apostle).
If nothing else is discovered in this Bible study lesson, let’s keep in mind that anyone can be changed by the glory of Christ.
As Christians – We Continue to Go, Serve & Share
Even though people may not want to hear, we need to continue our efforts to spread the word about Jesus to all we come into contact with.
This is not to say we walk down the street with a Bible held in the air. It does mean that we need to grasp opportunities to talk about the truth when they arise.
Our job is to go, serve and tell – most times in that order. Can we do it?
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16.
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