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.
- Do you think that Stephen’s boldness was a mistake which 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 usually would turn “bad” things into unexpected good outcome.
- Have you had any experience that was terrible, disappointing, unfair…, but in the end, there was an unexpected good result? How does this help you understand God’s will?
- Are you 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”?
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.
Prayer & Journaling: On your prayer journal, as you listen to God, write down a few thoughts, questions, words, names, drawings, or anything that has come to your mind during this time.
Proverbs for Today 12:21-24
21 No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. 23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly. 24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.