“You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.” The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
(Acts of the Apostles 7:51-60 NLT).
I encourage you to read the entire chapter. Stephen outlined the historical narrative of the nation of Israel like a scholar. His knowledge was impressive. His anointing was unmistakable. Unashamed and intent, he preached like a dying man to dying men. His first and last sermon.
Many of Stephens attributes mimic that of Jesus. He preached the truth, he spoke boldly, he was anointed of the Holy Spirit, he was willing to die for the truth, did die, and while dying, forgave his attackers. Stephen was truly a man of God and demonstrated the fact that the Holy Spirit makes us like Jesus. We are not Jesus. He is God. However, we are to represent Him to the world. Holy Spirit, empower us to do just that. In Jesus name!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris