Biblical Story Of Stephen
When I was a kid, exploring the Bible stories with the comic storybook gave me so much joy. I could cry looking at the picture of a man kneeling with blood all over his body and his eyes fixed to the heavens. The wicked faces of the men stoning him and that of the man standing beside disgusted me.
That was Stephen, the man like Christ, a sample of Christianity, the first Christian Martyr.
In the early days of Christianity, the Christians lived in communism, sharing everything they had together and helping the weak amongst themselves until it became difficult for the disciples to handle all sectors of the Christian’s affairs. The Greek-speaking Jews began complaining that their widows were neglected. The disciples proposed that they select deacons to help out. The Christians prayed and chose seven God-fearing men who were full of wisdom to handle the issues. Amongst them were Stephen, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Philip, Nicholus, and Parmenas.
Stephen was the first man in the crew and was filled with the holy spirit. He was very brave and performed his duty as a deacon with total loyalty and reverence for God. He commenced performing so many miracles to the glory of God. As God kept working miracles through him, the Jews came against him because they weren’t comfortable with the signs and wonders, so they bribed some men to speak against him. They began to rebel against him and said” this man is always talking against our sacred temple and laws of Moses. We heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will tear down the temple and change all the customs which have come down to us from Moses” (Acts 6:13-14). Stephen, in response to the accusation, seized the opportunity to preach them the gospel. He made them understand that he’s not afraid of death and is already seeing heaven’s gate open. Saying this, they seized him and took him out of the town where Saul endorsed his murder, and they and stoned him to death.
Stephen a Martyr
Who is a Martyr?
A martyr is someone who dies for the course he believes in. Stephen died for his faith. He trusted that Christ can do all things. With his eyes looking unto God, he died with the hope of everlasting life.
Some qualities Stephen possessed
- Stephen was full of the holy spirit
- He was gifted for miracles
- He was full of grace and power.
- He was of great wisdom and fearless.
- Stephen was a lover of God and man.
What does the life of Stephen teach us?
There are so many things to grab from the life of this Martyr. All his actions portray him as a man with deeds worthy of emulation. Stephen’s life teaches us the following;
For you to stand out amongst others, you must be fully dedicated to what you do. When the early Christians needed deacons to help in handling their affairs, they chose dedicated men. There could have been many other men available, but no, they went for those with high commitment and dedication to God. Even after Stephen was selected, he was dedicated to his service to God and man as well.
As Christians and as good people, we ought to dedicate ourselves fully to whatever we do to get the best out of it, both at work, school, or in prayers. Be dedicated.
- Trust in God:
Stephen could have escaped when he learned he was going to die. He trusted that whatever God wants for him was the best. Sometimes we need to let God be in control and follow his designs. Roman 9:33 says that whoever believes in the Lord shall never be disappointed. The life of Stephen teaches us to trust God at all times, even when it seems all is bad. Remember luke 3:24″ with God all things are possible” Even at death, Stephen knew that the Lord’s choice for him was the best. He accepted and trusted God.
- Do all things to the glory of God.
Stephen was gifted. He was full of the holy spirit. Wherever he goes to preach the gospel, many miracles must occur. In as much as the grace of God was abundant in his life and all of those miracles happened through him, he was never proud and never molested others with the gift rather he deepened himself in good deeds and God’s work, and God blessed him. Stephen didn’t live long on earth, yet, his life made an impact on people’s lives and Christianity also.
Whatever gift or talent God has given you, use it in glorification of His name because for that purpose, He gave it to you.
The life of Stephen is a replica of the life of Christ. Stephen suffered almost in the same manner as Christ, and just as Christ, he ended with a prayer of love. Stephen was arrested, questioned, and finally was taken out of the city and stoned to death. While he died, Stephen prayed for those who stoned him. He asked God to receive his soul and forgive his murderers.
That is a great act of love. The commandments of God say we should love God and also love our neighbor as ourselves. Show love and kindness to people around you, forgive your offenders, and pray for your enemies. Don’t you think Saul (who later became Paul) the man who endorsed Stephen’s death was converted by Stephen’s prayers?
- The word of God is worth knowing
Stephen preached to his accusers in a way that has never been before. Because the spirit of the Lord was in him, he understood the word of God and preached fearlessly that the prosecutors became scared.
We should learn from Stephen to live a life of prayer. Pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The holy spirit is the divine teacher. He can teach us the word so that by preaching it, more souls can turn to God.
Above is the story of a man who put his entire trust in God died for his faith. With his act, many souls converted to God, and till date, he remains the first Martyr of the holy church, a real Christian till death. Today, despite what the world is growing into, we are encouraged to look up to men like Stephen. Let his life inspire us.