The Last Chapter of Life
And the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me." — Acts 7:1-2
The speech Stephen delivers here will be his last. By the end of the chapter, he will be executed by the Sanhedrin. Yet his speech here is of tremendous power and insight. Based on what he has proclaimed publically in the previous chapter, Stephen is seized, and officials claim he is guilty of four accounts of religious blasphemy. The four accounts are heresy against God, Moses, the Law, and the Temple. But we know that Stephen is not rejecting any of these things. He is actually in full support of them. And in his presentation, he turns the table on the Sanhedrin, claiming that he is not the heretic — they are. They are the real heretics because they have rejected Jesus, who is the fulfillment of all these things. So as you read this chapter, you will notice that Stephen's defense is a response to each one of these four charges and that he uses Jewish history, their own history, to prove his point. It's tough to even categorize Stephen's presentation as a defense. It's really an offensive move of the Holy Spirit indwelling a brave man to bring an indictment against the Sanhedrin.
And his ultimate point is this:
Throughout history, religious leaders have always killed the prophets who came to deliver them. But you have done this the Messiah himself — Jesus who is the Christ.
You know death is always difficult. Yet, one out of one still dies. Some of us will die of old age, maybe disease, or even a disastrous event. But Stephen does not die from any of these. He dies defending his faith in Jesus. What a glorious way to depart this life and enter the next. He enjoys a short moment defending the Savior of the World and seconds later departs to see the Savior face-to-face.
I would say that would be an incredible way to go.
ASK THIS: Will you defend Jesus till your life is done?
DO THIS: If so, give a defense today.
PRAY THIS: God, may your Spirit give me words and wisdom to give a reason for my belief in you.
PLAY THIS: Face To Face With Christ, My Savior.
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