Lesson Title: STEPHEN’S MARTYRDOM
Faith Pathway/Faith Journey Topic: Paying The Price
Printed Text: Acts 7:51-60; 8:1a (NIV)
Key Verse: Acts 7:59 (NIV)
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Source: Townsend Press Sunday School Commentary 2012-2013
When strong leaders confront traditional ideas, their words may incite anger and violence. What causes such violent reactions? Stephen’s criticism of the religious establishment and his exaltation of Christ enraged the religious leaders, and they stoned him to death.
One of the challenges of American Christianity is the difficulty of relating to people and places where the Gospel is not welcome. In America, there are no vigilante squads roaming about the cities to snatch anyone who names Jesus Christ as Lord. Quite the contrary—the church has at times become a comfortable co-conspirator with the powers that seek to deny the lordship of Jesus Christ. The voice of protest against the rampant injustices perpetrated by the wealthy and powerful has all but vanished from American pulpits. Stephen taught that there may come a time and point in our lives when we are forced to choose whom we will stand for and what we willingly sacrifice our lives for. The key to living such a courageous life is recognizing that the persons we are as Christians is deeply rooted in being filled with the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to do what Stephen did until/unless we are willing to become who Stephen sought to be and how he sought to live his life—as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord God Almighty, teach us to trust You in all matters of faith and life. May what we believe translate into actions that reveal that we have been with You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen