Acts 7: 54-60
Here was the end result of Stephen’s faithfulness. He was drug out of the temple by the most religious people in the community and stoned to death. They put him in a corner or against a wall. They lined up across from him, smacking and striking him to stay in place. One by one the picked rocks up from the ground and began to throw them at him.
The first few probably struck his body. They hurt, but he knew the worst was to come. After the first few had hit him, waves came at him, pelting every part of his body. He covered his face and head, trying to protect himself. The rocks still struck, they still hurt. One struck the top of his head, he began bleeding. As the blood rushed over his face more and more rocks continued to hit him.
The crowd was now aiming for his head. They had been furious at his statements and now they wanted him to pay.
Stephen’s final words were simple but profound. As the crowd hurled stones at his body he simply prayed. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
It takes a true follower of Jesus to have this kind of love and compassion. It takes a true disciple to look at the end currently taking your life and have compassion on them. It takes someone who truly knows Jesus to be more concerned with someone else’s salvation at the moment of their death. The last thing he said, his last prayer before eternity was for those who were sending him there.
How do you treat those who persecute you? How quick are you to curse your enemy instead of loving them? Does your mind in trials go to following Jesus or to getting revenge? True Disciples know our prize, our hope, our reward is with God in eternity.