When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the
heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at
the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell
Fridays with the Apostle Paul
The stoning of Stephen brought the first sacrificial death to the early Christ followers. While many would subsequently experience their own death for following their Savior, Stephen's was the first such event and it is recorded with much detail here in
Luke's story of the Church.
But another reason for its inclusion is the introduction of a key individual whose life would greatly affect, even shape the Church---a young man named Saul. As we journey with Him and see the lessons he learned, we must start where his story starts---in
the tragic choices of his past. Though Scripture has not spoken of Him before, He is at the center of this crime against God's people.
Where did your story start? Perhaps you can look back on many tragic choices, even enough to question whether or not God could truly love you and involve you in His purposes. But Saul (soon to be Paul) has his own dark history. And, if God has a place
for Him in His kingdom, surely there's room for each of us as well. Like our own, Saul's road to becoming the man he is meant to be is a long road, but it's also one from which we can learn a great deal.
---Dr. Mike Clarensau serves as Senior Director of the Healthy Church Network.
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