“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.” – Hebrews 11:37a
As we approach Reformation Day, we are mindful of those who have gone before us and have paid the ultimate price for their faith. The martyrs have given their lives. In Acts 7, we read the account of the first Christian martyr named Stephen. In Acts 7, we have one of the longest sermons found in the Scriptures and as sometimes happens when the truth is told, those who are not walking with the Lord become angry. He called his hearers stiff-necked and they did not like that.
What was the result for Stephen, whose name means “crowned one”? They picked up stones and they stoned him to death. It is a very graphic death and if you are reading this to children, you will have to explain that for some, the cost of walking with Jesus will be their very lives. Stephen was privileged to testify of the work of Jesus Christ with his life. If, as the enemies of the resurrection claimed, that the disciples stole Jesus’ body, why would the apostles give their lives for a lie? They wouldn’t. Their lives testified to the fact that Jesus is risen and reigning.
Stephen denied himself the riches of this world in order to inherit a crown of many jewels in the life to come. The faithful have always been persecuted and this will continue until that time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for those who have gone before and given their lives as martyrs. Ask for strength to live with such fortitude/courage for the gospel.
Rev. Steve Swets was born and raised in NW Indiana. He graduated from Mid America Reformed Seminary in 2007, and he is currently the minister at Redeemer United Reformed Church in St. John, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.