Jesus stood up!
Scripture reading for April 22nd: 1st Samuel 6-8, Acts 7
Acts 7: 54-58 “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 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. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.”
This account of the first martyr among the seven chosen deacons is an amazing story! Stephen had just made a defense for Jesus as God’s Son and accused the crowd that was seeking his death of being stiff-necked and resisting the Holy Spirit. They were like their fore-fathers who had also resisted God’s prophets and their messages of correction and a call to repentance. They had killed the prophets and then they had murdered Jesus, God’s Son in direct opposition and rebellion to the Law of God that they claimed to follow! Steven was granted great grace to declare truth to them by being filled with the Holy Spirit. As they closed their ears and rushed upon him, Stephen was granted an open heaven where He beheld Jesus standing by the throne to receive him there. As Jesus prayed from the cross, Stephen prayed as well, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” What intercession for Saul, who was there!
Acts 7:59-60 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 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.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for men and women like Stephen who were made bold by the Holy Spirit and enabled to stand in the face of hostile religious people. Help me to imitate their faith and intercede for those who are closing their ears to truth. Sustain me by Your grace through the precious Holy Spirit. I want to please my Holy King and submit to His merciful rule!
1st Samuel 8:6-7 “But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being their King over them.”
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