51 你們這硬著頸項、心與耳未受割禮的人，常時抗拒聖靈！你們的祖宗怎樣，你們也怎樣。 52 那一個先知不是你們祖宗逼迫呢？他們也把預先傳說那義者要來的人殺了；如今你們又把那義者賣了，殺了。 53 你們受了天使所傳的律法，竟不遵守。
54 眾人聽見這話就極其惱怒，向司提反咬牙切齒。 55 但司提反被聖靈充滿，定睛望天，看見神的榮耀，又看見耶穌站在神的右邊， 56 就說：我看見天開了，人子站在神的右邊。
57 眾人大聲喊叫，摀著耳朵，齊心擁上前去， 58 把他推到城外，用石頭打他。作見證的人把衣裳放在一個少年人名叫掃羅的腳前。
59 他們正用石頭打的時候，司提反呼籲主說：求主耶穌接收我的靈魂！ 60 又跪下大聲喊著說：主啊，不要將這罪歸於他們！說了這話，就睡了。掃羅也喜悅他被害。
51“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But 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. 56“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
- Don’t think Stephen’s boldness was a mistake that cost his life. In fact, just like the crucifixion of Jesus, Stephen’s martyrdom was part of God’s plan for saving His people. God has a habit of turning “bad” things into unexpected good outcome.
- Have I had any experience that was terrible, disappointing, unfair…, but in the end, there was an unexpected good result? How does this help me understand God’s will?
- Am I willing to be like Stephen and, as Paul says in Philippians 1, have the attitude that “to live is Christ and to die is gain”?
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.
Family Time (Begin this time by reading the passage above using a children’s Bible.)
What happened to Stephen? Why? Why didn’t God save Stephen? Parents, recall one difficult incident you or the family experienced. Share how God blessed the incident and caused beautiful consequences from it. Ask a child to write to draw the incident in your Family Devotional Journal.