November 15, 2021
Daily Reading: Acts 7-8
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Chapter 7 is a tremendous read. In it, Stephen, a deacon, gives an overview of the Old Testament that is easy to read and understand. Nowhere is there a better synopsis of God’s continual love and watchcare over Israel. Not only did this deacon give an historical summary, he also pinpointed his message to those who heard him.
He told them that they resisted the Holy Ghost even as their forefathers did (vs. 51). Also, those in attendance heard him call them betrayers and murderers of Jesus (vs. 52). In return, instead of repenting of their wickedness, they gnashed on him with their teeth (vs. 54) and ultimately stoned him to death (vs. 58). At which time, this faithful servant of Jesus prayed to God asking…Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
In this one statement, Stephen is forever memorialized as taking on the likeness of Jesus; for as Christ prayed when being nailed on the cross …Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). Jesus forgave His tormentors, He asked His Father to do the same, Stephen forgave his murderers asking the Lord to do the same. Forgiveness!
Forgiveness is foundational to the Christian life. If a person can find it to forgive those who have wronged them, they take on the likeness of Christ. Forgiveness is BIG. It is a grace that takes a change of heart and a new spirit. These can only be obtained through the new birth that brings a person into eternal life. Praise the Lord that He forgives those who sin against Him, and He asks the same of His children. Stephen is an excellent example of how to follow the example of the Lord Jesus.
No matter the seriousness of the wrongdoing, there is always a way to forgive. The first step is to determine to be more like Jesus. Evidently, Stephen did.
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.