Faithful to the End
“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5 (ESV)
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 7. I would encourage you to read this chapter before jumping into today’s devotion.
Stephen was the first martyr of the Christian church. The first to show his faithfulness to death. Again, I encourage you to read the story of Stephen for yourself, but I’ll offer a few thoughts they may help you apply this passage.
- Stephen persevered. After being arrested, he could have cowered. He could have changed his message. Instead, when asked for his defense, he preached a sermon. I consider my own timidity at times to speak the gospel, fearing only rejection. Stephen knows his life is on the line. We should be challenged by his example.
- Stephen preaches Jesus from the Old Testament. The gospel is the central theme of all of scripture. Stephen knows this. It is interesting to note that it appears Stephen didn’t have access to the written word in the moment because he has very few direct quotes from scripture. But he knew his bible well enough to retell these stories and in them show Jesus. Are we ready to tell others the reason for the hope we have?
- Jesus is close to Stephen in the darkest time. Just before his death, Acts 7 says that “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.” (Acts 7:55-56 ESV) Jesus revealed himself in a special way during the dark times. This is true in our lives also. Many older brothers and sisters in Jesus can tell you about difficult times in their lives that God used to draw them closer to himself.
- The Grace of Jesus shines through Peter to the end. Jesus says at the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Stephen follows Jesus example and, as he is being stoned, falls to his knees and says, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” That is a grace that only Jesus can put in is. We want to be so enamored with his gospel that it shines through us even in the darkest times.
Grace & Peace,