Dear Theopolis, I want to share my raw journal notes from the day Stephen was killed.
“Commotion is everywhere as the city of Jerusalem is in an uproar! Shouting, yelling and dust fill the air. Apparently Stephen, one of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth has just appeared before the Sanhedrin and the high Priest. It is unclear exactly what he said as I was not in the room, but they are dragging him outside the city walls now to stone him. “What is causing this?” I ask around? It is only rumors but everyone is saying he spoke with an authority and clarity not even the high priest has. He laid out how our ancestors have not obeyed God and have even persecuted the prophets who predicted the coming of Jesus. Then he looked in their face and told the Sanhedrin they are doing the same…he called them a stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears that are resisting the Holy Spirit and have betrayed and murdered Jesus!
This tension has been building between the Sanhedrin and the followers of Jesus but now it has exploded. This stoning is different, the anger of the crowds. There is a Pharisee and teacher Saul, who is leading this effort, encouraging the witnesses to stone this man who threatens their way of life. It looks like he will throw the first stone. Stephen stands no chance and is certainly on his way to death. But this Stephen is different, he is praying for the very men stoning him – I’m heard him say “Lord do not hold this sin against them” with what must have been his last breath.
What will become of these followers of Jesus now? Who is this Saul, so intent on persecuting these followers of Jesus, why does he feel so threatened? How could one man stir up such controversy?”
Daily Battle Order:
What would you have done if you were in the city that day? Join Saul and throw stones to preserve your way of life? It’s easy to say no, but I guarantee we all have one alliance in our lives right now where we are throwing stones against God to preserve something we don’t want to give up.