Stoning Stephen and Saving Saul

Posted: December 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Most of us have heard about Stephen in the book of Acts chapter 6 and 7.  If you don’t, I will catch you up real quick.  Stephen according to the Bible was a man full of God’s grace and power.  He performed amazing miracles and signs among the people (Acts 6:8). One day he got into a debate with some men from the Synagogue.  Stephen was full of the Spirit and full of wisdom and none of the men could stand up against him, so they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen.  They told the people and religious leaders that Stephen was blaspheming Moses and even God.  He said that Jesus would destroy the temple and change the customs Moses handed down to them.  The high priest got involved and asked Stephen if this was true, and Stephen let them all know exactly what was in his heart and on his mind.  Acts chapter 7 is worth the read to see the boldness of Stephen.  He tells them all about Abraham, Moses, Joseph and Jesus.  He then in verse 51 calls them “stubborn people! Stephen is really getting after it here.  He proceeds to tell them that THEY murdered and betrayed Jesus.  Whoah…that was obviously not the right thing to say.. All of the leaders were furious at what Stephen just told them so they rushed him and dragged him out of the city and stoned him.  When I say they stoned him I don’t mean they threw pebbles at him.  These stones were more like huge boulders that were thrown at Stephen.  Through all of this Stephen sees the Heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  Chapter 7 verse 59 says that Stephen said “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” and then he died.  Wow, what a man of honor and integrity and character.  As these men stoned him because of his love for Jesus, he asked Jesus not to hold them accountable for this sin.  We wouldn’t have that right? We would want revenge!! We would say something like “Kill em God, Kill em!!” But not Stephen.  He said “Forgive em God, forgive em!!!

But, it’s not Stephen I really want to focus on here.  It’s a man we know by the name of Saul.  Acts chapter 8 verse 1 says this, “Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.” This man Saul, held the coats of the ones doing the stoning, and agreed with it 100%.  Many of you probably know the story of how Saul became Paul and wrote over half of the New Testament.  If you don’t here is a quick background of Saul turned to Paul.  Saul didn’t like Christians, in fact, hated them.  He would beat them and seek to kill them, just because they were Christians, so naturally when they were killing a man that loved Jesus he was cool with it.  The Lord one day got Sauls attention by knocking him off of his horse and blinding him.  Saul had an encounter with Jesus and changed his life, and also changed his name to Paul.  Paul went from a man watching Stephen get stoned and probably cheering to a man that would end up giving his life, and his head because of his love for Jesus.  Two very different people when we meet them in scripture, but at the end of their lives they were both killed because of their love for Jesus.

It’s amazing to me how we see one man cheering on the death of another man and then see that same man fall in love with Jesus and do amazing things in his name.  Here’s what I know.  You may have messed up many, many times.  You may be messing up in life right now, but if you are still breathing then God isn’t done with you.  He has plans for you, he died for you! There is nothing you could ever do to take away His love for you! You can’t be to bad or run to far.  He loves you.  Jesus gave his life on the cross so that you could have an abundant life in Him.  So, you messed up. So did Paul.  Paul was a murderer and God forgave Him and changed his heart.  Paul lived a life sold out for Jesus and if God can change His heart then He can change yours.  It’s not to late.  You can start over today. The good news is God doesn’t just throw you away, he can remake you into something beautiful.  You are His masterpiece created for good works.  Let him mold you into what He wants your life to look life.  Maybe life is broken into a million pieces, let Him restore it.  Let Him be the potter in your life and you be the clay.  He still loves you.

I wish I could say that I have always been a Stephen, but I can’t.  I’ve been a Saul more than a Stephen.  But, I have seen God do an amazing work in my heart and in my life.  He has brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Even as a Christian I have done awful things, but God has restored, He has redeemed, He has changed me from a Saul to a Paul and I will spend the rest of my life being a Stephen.  What about you? Do you need to be healed, restored, redeemed? Cry out to Jesus, reach out to someone you know and remember, He loves you and wants you, let Him do great things in your life and be a Stephen, even if it ends up getting you stoned.

In Christ,

Steven

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