“‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus… do not hold this sin against them.’”Acts 7: 56, 59-60
The dust hadn’t settled after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Wherever the 12 disciples and new apostles went preaching, things could get ugly. Priests and Pharisees were shaken by the claims that this Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. And how could it be that His teaching seemed to be gaining traction now that He was gone? Into this volatile setting came wise, Spirit-filled Stephen, one of seven chosen to help minister to the needy. He was happy to do so and virtually glowed with God’s grace and power.
Best of all, Stephen only had eyes for God. It was his unshakeable faith in the risen Savior that steadied him when the artillery of rocks thrown by the crowd came cascading down. Stephen was so full of the Holy Spirit that he simply looked up and saw Jesus.
In his death, Stephen mirrored Jesus. Hear the echo from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Your Savior only had eyes for you in the moment of His death at Calvary. Live your life now with eyes for Him.
Lord, on my best and worst days let me be full of your mercy, love and grace.