Read Acts 7:54-8:1
“They threw [Stephen] out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (vs. 58)
You know sometimes I just would love to skim over stories like this. The bible is not explicit with every single detail, we don’t have all the answers and we sure aren’t God to know all the reasons behind the whys.
“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. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (vs. 55-56 NIV) This part I do love!
Can you imagine! What revelation! What vision! Stephen who was hated so much and yet so “full of the Holy Spirit” that when he looked up he saw heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. If there is any consolation to this story at all for me, it would be that God unveiled his eyes to see this vision right before he was going to die.
“At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices; they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.”(vs. 57-58 NIV)
Beth states this is the first Saul’s name is mentioned. Saul was a bystander in this passage, but he cheered the others on in the stoning of Stephen. Remember we’ve been reading he was a Pharisee and lived the letter of the law. Saul persecuted the followers of Jesus.
“As Jesus watched, He didn’t miss a single nod of Saul’s phylacteried head. Remember, Christ was up on His feet at the time. Can you imagine the alloy of emotions He must have experienced as He looked on the two key players in the kingdom that day?
- One covered in blood; the other covered by prayer shawls.
- One who could not save himself from men; the other who could not save himself from sin.
- One dead in the body but alive in spirit; the other alive in body but dead in spirit.
- One loved by God; and the other loved by God. Grace, grace, God’s grace.(1)
A prayer for all of you …
When you are in difficult trials, I hope that you will lift your head and
“look up to heaven and see the glory of God”.
(1) Paul, 90 Days of His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing