Acts 7:54-60

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Part 2 – Murder

I’m recalling Day 20 – this is a case of jealousy that leads to rage that leads to murder.

Stephen has given his defense to the Sanhedrin and now, in this court of law and justice (?), the chasm tears right down the middle – boldly separating Darkness and Light.

Now when they heard these things they were enraged. What had they heard? Well that they were stiff-necked with uncircumcised hearts and ears and that they were resisting God just like their fathers before them! Did they consider these claims? Nope – They were furious!

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

I can picture these holy men in flowing dignified robes – the pillars of faith and prominence – completely losing it. They are chasing this one guy out of the courtroom and down the road and ring-leading the crowd into committing murder. (How does the Enemy get a foothold like this? How do we become murderers? For me it starts with allowing my own pride to fester into anger. I kick the stone in the road before I pick it up – but – eventually- I’ll hold it purposefully in my hand and throw it as hard as I can. Aiming to injure, maim or even kill the thing or person that opposes my pride. This, unchecked in me, is the path to murder.)

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.”

Stephen – is all things Light. Pride is the last thing on his mind. Open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, he gazes into heaven and is fortified by the view.

…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.

Like Jesus before him, Stephen yielded his very life and entrusted himself to Jesus. He gave up any claim to retribution or vengeance – both more fitting of his murders’ mindset – and allowed God to be all that he needed.

(I never expect to be required to give up my physical life for Jesus but who knows? That child at Columbine didn’t expect to either. I hope I am as faithful as she was. But every day, in any given situation, my words, my actions, my thoughts are out there – ready to be tainted by all that is Dark or transformed by all that is Light. I should be preparing to choose Light. I think I’ll start by taking those pebbles out of my pocket.)

About God?
He sent Jesus to save us from ourselves.

About Me?
You have heard it said, “You shall not commit murder” but I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty… Jesus

About the World?
We have met the enemy and he is us. – Pogo

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