The Stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:54-60

The Stoning of Stephen
Acts 7:54-60
1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
5. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.
6. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.
7. Stephen now faces what he knew was coming—his execution by stoning per Leviticus 24:10-16.
8. Stephen did not soften the Gospel message before the Council of Israel. It takes courage to be courageous.
9. “Cut to the heart”—these leaders were angered beyond measure just like Paul (Saul) was per Acts 9:1-5. Were we like that as well? Are lost people still this way today?
10. In the face of death, and of a savage kind, Stephen has his eyes upon Jesus, which may be what “full of the Holy Spirit” means in verse 55.
11. “Heaven opened” is likely an idiom, a saying that would have been understood by Stephen’s executioners. We have Stephen seeing Jesus “standing” and not “sitting”, which reveals a high Christology. (see Matthew 26:64)
12. The religious leaders cannot bear to here Stephen’s words so with one mind (thumadon in the Greek), they rush to kill Stephen. Desperate people indeed.
13. Luke introduces Saul now, who is our Paul, and reveals his role in the stoning of Stephen. (See 1 Timothy 1:15)
14. At the point where Stephen is at the gate of death, he beholds Jesus and says, “receive my spirit.” This is a common expression meaning that someone is about to die.
15. Then, reminiscent of his Lord, Stephen asks the sin of the elders of Israel not be held against them, just as Jesus had done. (see Luke 23:34)
16. Stephen “fell asleep” – a way of saying he died.

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