Steven stood surrounded by an angry mob. They were allowing him to speak out of tradition not because they cared about what he had to say. As he recounted the history of the nation of Israel his words condemned them for not being obedient to the Word of God, just as their spiritual forbearers killed the prophets so too did they betray and kill the Messiah. This angered the mob even more and now they were ready to kill this prophet. What had he done wrong? He had committed the horrible mistake of telling them the truth. All the people saw was a man whom they hated, a follower of the man that they had condemned as a heretic. This was not a private event, the whole of Jerusalem would see and through them the rest of the world would know, anyone that followed Jesus would be treated like this man. But what did Stephen see? His gaze was drawn to heaven. The veil was pulled back and he saw the Lord Himself standing next to the throne. The people were enraged and the mob carried him away to be stoned. It would not take long the stones were plentiful but Stephen was still drawn to his Lord, to the one who would receive his spirit for eternity. As the people continued to throw stones all Stephen could do was to ask Christ to forgive them.
Our perspectives will change depending on our worldview. Hebrews tells us that we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Why? Because He is the author and the finisher of our faith and He that began a good work in us will continue it till the end. But this life can be hard and when our perspective is removed from the eternal life waiting for us this life can be unbearable. So look to the one that hides us in the wilderness that seals us as his own that makes us into a holy Temple that He measures to the smallest degree. The Apostle Paul was there at the stoning of Stephen as well, he held the coats of those who were throwing stones, consenting happily. To think years later as he recounted this story to Luke how different his perspective had become.
We will discuss these and other questions today on Theology Simply Profound.
Theology Simply Profound is a podcast of Westminster Presbyterian Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, serving the western suburbs of Chicago, where God powerfully speaks through his means of grace. Also, check out the work of the OPC in Chicagoland at Chicago Reformed.
Music credit: pamelayork.com. Thank you, Pamela York, for the use of your beautiful jazzy rendition of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” We encourage our listeners to check out her website and consider purchasing some of her music.