May 17 – Defining Moments – Stephen

Read Acts 6:8-7:60

Who do you look up to? 

A teacher, athlete, actor, friend? 

I have some friends who I greatly admire.  These friends, first and foremost, love the Lord and their families.  But, I’d have to say, the people I look up to most are my parents.  My mom was a Proverbs 31 woman.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

She supported my dad, served in her church, cared for her family and had an inner beauty that was unmatched.  My dad is a disciplined man, who serves in his church and was extremely successful in the business world, working with a high standard of ethics for himself and those who worked under him.

“They chose Stephen a man full of faith and the Holy spirit…

Stephen, a man full of God’s grace …

they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke…

he had the face of an angel.” Acts 6:6,8,10,15

Stephen was a man to “look up” to.  He was a man of faith, grace and wisdom. He was chosen to help care for the widows and for distribution of food.  The Jews began to argue with Stephen, but could not stand up to his wisdom, given him by the Spirit.  So, in their anger, they seized him and brought him before the Sanhedrin where he was falsely accused of blasphemy.  Stephen spoke of their history –   Abraham to Moses, and to Jesus the “Righteous One”.  Stephen rebuked them for their unbelief. 

“…they killed those predicting the coming of the Righteous One. 

And now you have betrayed and murdered Him” Acts 7:52

At this they took Stephen outside and stoned him to death. 

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit,

looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,

and Jesus standing at the Right Hand of God”Acts 7:55

In his suffering, Stephen looked up and saw the heavens “rolled back like a scroll” (Rev 6:14).

Did you catch that? 

He saw Jesus, STANDING! 

Jesus who is “seated at the Right Hand of God” (Luke 22:69, Hebrews 12:2), is standing!  Jesus saw the suffering of Stephen and stood up for him.  When Jesus sees you suffering, know that He stands up for you!  Jesus took on our nature and took that nature-flesh back to Heaven, so that He could be seen by human eyes-Stephen’s eyes. Jesus, through His death on the cross, tore the veil that separated us from Heaven. Heaven is now opened up to man and Stephen is able to commune with God. Stephen was in the presence of the Omnipresent God.

This presence gave Stephen strength in the midst of his suffering.

It gave Stephen hope in the midst of a hopeless situation.

It gave Stephen peace in the midst of a violent scene.

Stephen chose to look Heavenward, physically with his eyes and spiritually with his heart. This defining moment in Stephens’ life, wasn’t the fact that he was stoned, or that he spoke truth, and was willing to die for the truth. 

The defining moment in Stephen’s life was looking up at the exalted and standing King.

Where do you look for strength? Do you look up to people in your life?  The people we choose to look up to should point us to Christ. Are others looking up to you? For those who may be looking up to you, do you point them to Christ?

“Look up” to the God who created the heavens and all their glory and is our strength. The God who gave His Son for our salvation and is our hope. The God who promises His constant presence, who is our peace.

Begin today, to define your moments, by “looking up.”

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up…”  Acts 7:55

Janene Nagel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s