Saturday, October 14, 2017

The First Martyr

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 7:51-60

TO CHEW ON: "Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60

Stephen was known for his wisdom. He was full of the Holy Spirit. He did many signs and miracles. But even such a special man had enemies.

Some important people argued with him about Jesus, and lost the argument. They decided to silence him. So they got people to tell lies about him. Then they arrested him and put him on trial. Stephen used his trial to talk about Jesus even more.

"Stephen before he is martyred" - Artist unknown"Stephen before he is martyred" - Artist unknown

When he told the High Priest (his judge) and the crowd, they were enemies of God because they had killed Jesus, it was too much for them. In anger they dragged him outside the city and threw stones at him.

"The stoning of Stephen" - Artist unknown"The stoning of Stephen" - Artist unknown

But even then Stephen honored Jesus. He asked God to forgive the people who were hurting him. Then he died.

"The stoning of Stephen" by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1851-60"The stoning of Stephen" by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1851-60

Would we have had such forgiving hearts?

Dear God, please give me the courage to stay true to You and love my enemies no matter what happens. Amen.

MORE: Modern Martyrs
Have you ever been teased for being a Christian? Have you been threatened or hurt? That is persecution.

What is the difference between being persecuted and being a martyr?

- Check out Kids of Courage for some modern-day stories of people who are being persecuted.

- Pick out one country where Christians are being persecuted and martyred. Begin to pray for that country and the Christians who live there.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

No comments: