After we had been at DJs RV park here in Lake Havasu for around a month, with the blessing of the management, I began a Ladies Bible Study which meets each Tuesday morning at 9:00. My first series was on Forgiveness, a subject which touches all of us, of course. Throughout our lives, there will come many occasions when we are called to either extend forgiveness, or to beg a healthy portion of it for ourselves.
Yesterday morning, Jerry continued with his study of the book of Acts, reviewing the latter part of chapter 7, which he had dealt with last week. As I sat on a plastic folding chair yesterday, and read those verses again, somehow I could almost see Stephen, that courageous kneeling disciple, who for the Gospel’s sake, was its first martyr, and who was the epitome of the spirit of forgiveness. It is an astonishing story: verse 54 says the unruly, ungodly crowd to which Stephen had just preached, attacked him with such hate and anger, they actually gnashed on him with their teeth. They bit into his flesh…think about it…because “they were cut to the heart.” Because he had recited their story, their history, their reputation.
Please jump to the next to the last verse of the chapter–verse 59:
“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
This blessed, brave, crouching man, with thin, fleeting breath, makes the appeal that God extend mercy to the very ones who are intent on snatching away his life. Amazing, truly amazing.
I need a cupful of that kind of a spirit; no, I need a jug full, a big jug. Better yet; a stream, a river, a surging ocean portion must I have.
5 thoughts on “For the Spirit of Stephen”
I can’t even imagine the pain and agony that Stephen was in when he uttered these final words. Can you fathom even one stone the size your fist hitting you in the forehead? I cannot. To be stoned to death would be so tormenting and yet Stephen prayed for them and asked the Lord to forgive his enemies. Oh, how I need just a drop of this same Spirit of forgiveness and it would be so much more than I am operating through today. Thank you for this word of admonishment today.
Blessings to you in Christ,
What a beautiful devotional, Shirley. We all need this spirit. To forgive and ask God not to hold sins against others. What love. How much of Jesus Stephen must have had.
Scotti, your mentioning the actual pain that Stephen suffered is an enlightening point. I fear that too often we fall into the trap of reading Biblical accounts as just another story. Not so! These were real, feeling, suffering people…people as you and I.
Helen, I know I fall short in this area, but I’m truly working on myself.
Pray for me–both of you, please.
Oh to bathe in that kind of forgiving spirit. I’m having such a rough go of forgiveness this week. I was on the brink of my wit’s end, but I think I’m coming back around again.
Praying for you this afternoon, dear lady. Not sure why, but I’m prompted to do so.
Jayleigh, I am touched by your post, especially your praying for me. Thank you so very much.