Stephen–Forgiveness Unleashed

Chuck and Kitty Porta

Stephen stood, facing a religious leadership group filled with unbridled hate. In about an hour, that hate would express itself with a brutal stoning and Stephen would die and go to Heaven.

He had been saved for about four years, an integral part of the first church, a first fruit of the culture of that church. He now faces the greatest trial, and test for his heart and faith. He has been called to the place of the first martyr of the first church.

Acts 6 records the growing climate of confrontation, with the last verse in the chapter showing us Stephen’s heart status. He was in the eye of the storm. He was at peace, rest, supremely confident, and ready to unleash a prophetic word for the ages.

Acts 7 is a record of that message. He is clear, articulate, anointed, and bold in his declaration.

Stephen faces Paul, and others like him, who love Moses, Law, and the temple. Stephen loves Jesus Christ, Grace, and has the revelation of the new temple, built by the Spirit, called the Body of Christ. Stephen knows the deep, full, implications of the work done at Calvary by Jesus Christ. A new creation was started at the Cross, with a new leader, the last Adam.(1Cor 15)  He is fearless that day in his prophetic declaration of New Covenant truth and reality.

In short, Stephen knows the New has come the Old is over. Paul believes he is a blasphemer like Jesus Christ, so Paul believes the Old is wonderful and the New must die.

At the conclusion of his Acts 7 message, Stephen receives a vision of Heaven, the Glory, and Jesus standing to welcome him home. He declares, with a cry, what he has seen.

With this last prophetic challenge, the mob stop their ears from hearing, and their rage is unchecked. Stephen was dragged from the Council chamber, down a narrow street, and thrown over a small cliff to a pit. Stones are gathered and outer garments are  placed at the feet of Saul/Paul, who spurs them into action. Stone after stone begin to pummel the young man. Quick bruising turns to open gashes and severe wounds, and his blood flows easily. Some of his bones are broken and some break through his skin. Internal material from his head and body begin to emerge. Stoning is very painful and brutal.

Half conscious, after so many blows, he stumbles to his knees and releases a pray for the ages. With his final breath he speaks; “They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)

A prayer of forgiveness is released by Stephen, a prayer for his murderers, a prayer for the eternal ages.

LORD HELP US ALL TO FORGIVE

Please read and prayerfully meditate on Acts 6/7

Publisher’s note: Please contact Chuck for information on the Life of Stephen that he teaches. It explores the church culture that formed the heart of this amazing young martyr.

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