Stephen the deacon was full of the Holy Spirit, and he performed miraculous signs and wonders. Because of the attention he drew, he became a target of the same mindset that had already crucified his Savior, Jesus. His detractors set him up the same way they set Jesus up. But Stephen refuted their false testimony by giving them a history lesson about God’s chosen people–Israel*. It enraged the rulers who heard him speak, and they became a crazed mob which forced Stephen to the outskirts of the city, where they stoned him.
Stephen died a horrible death by stoning. Did he whine? No. Did he beg? No. The Word says he looked heavenward and saw the Son of God standing at the right hand of the Father. Jesus was preparing to meet Stephen. Stephen’s face glowed with the vision. A few short minutes later, Stephen asked God not to count his murderers’ sins against them, and he died.
When Stephen got up that morning, I bet he didn’t consider that it would be his last day on earth. Yet that is exactly what it became.
Before the day was out, even though his testimony proved his accusers were wrong about him, the powers that be had incited yet another crowd against another innocent man.
We in America don’t have people chasing us to the edge of town in order to stone us because we are a testimony against their lives. Don’t be deceived, though. The enemy still hates us. Watch the news–every day the battle grows more heated. Who knows what God has in store for His followers, who seek to glorify Him with our lives?
What sort of testimony will we leave behind when that day arrives? Will we be able to look into the heavens and see the Son standing next to the Father, waiting to welcome us home? Will our faces glow as we gaze into the heavens?