GRACE & POWER
One of the most courageous men of all time was Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He was “full of grace and power.” Enemies of Christ opposed him but they “could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke.” They seized him and brought him before the high court. When he was allowed to speak, “his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:8-15) If you were being tried for your life before a hostile court, would you defend yourself? Stephen did not. Instead, he accurately preached Old Testament history from Abraham to Moses to the prophets, and concluded: “You stiff-necked people; you always resist the Holy Spirit – and now you have betrayed and murdered the Righteous One!” (Acts 7:51-53) When they heard this they were furious and began to stone him. He prayed as he was dying, “Lord do not lay this sin against them.” The Prince of Peace said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” He knew His word would divide even family members and friends. (Mt 10:28-39; Isaiah 9:6).