Do we fully understand the cost that some have paid for serving the Lord? I have always admired mission work. When I think of the sacrifice and cost that missionaries are paying, it humbles me and makes me so appreciate them. They are my heroes! Yet, they don’t see themselves in that way.
Stephen, the first martyr in the early church, paid a price–His life. I find it, more than, fascinating that the charges brought against him were very similar to what was brought against Jesus. Not only that, their deaths are alike, too. They both died a horrific death, one crucified, one stoned to death.
Jesus was the “Stone the builders rejected, which has become the Cornerstone.” (Acts 4: 11)
- Stephen was rejected and was stoned.
- Jesus, our Cornerstone, was rejected.
Even their last words were almost identical. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34), as He was crucified.
Stephen says, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7: 60), as they were stoning him.
- Both gave up their spirits.
- Both full of the Holy Spirit.
Hear my heart! I am in no way equating the suffering of Stephen to the suffering of Jesus, nor exalting him to the level of our King Jesus. Being stoned is horrific, though.
I am pointing out, that the early church walked in a level of obedience that is off the charts! Their example of following hard after God, with uncompromised devotion is displayed. We can all learn from them.
“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, upon his death, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus, standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7: 55)
Isn’t Jesus usually seated at the right hand of God? I propose to you, that Jesus was honoring Stephen and his martyrdom, so He stood up, as we would do to honor our King. (Selah)
He let Stephen see him, so he would proclaim His glory. He had to speak it forth, what he saw and heard so that we would see and know.
- Heavens open and release when we serve Him wholeheartedly.
- Speak forth and proclaim so others will see and know.
- New depths and new realms await us.
Something is just around the bend for Job. He is still being crushed by the words of his friends. He feels this way,“All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me.” (Job 19: 19)
Little did he know this next request would be granted: “Oh, that my words were recorded that they were written on a scroll.” (Job 19: 23)
- Keep proclaiming! Your words carry weight and could last a lifetime for many others.
Today, we are reading the words of these two men, (Job and Stephen), who suffered hard and long in their lifetimes, and are still impacting our lives at this very moment.
- All of our suffering is for a purpose, that God will use.
Job proclaims the goodness of God, even if he was longing for it all to end. He says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth…and I will see God. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19: 25-27)
- The song in Job’s heart has been a song that Psalmists have composed, and that we have all sung!
- We must never let the song in our hearts die.
Moses declared this song before he died: “I will proclaim the name of the Lord, Oh praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” (Deuteronomy 32: 3-4)
Keep looking up, you’ll be strengthened as a rock.
(Acts 7: 23-8:1, Job 19, Deuteronomy 31-32, Paraphrased)
UNBROKEN LOVE SERIES
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