I found myself reading from Act 7 that records the stoning to death of the first Christian martyr. Verses 51 to 53 caught my attention and I became captivated by my reading. Stephen was not reluctant to speak against an opposition crowd of people. He spoke of their stubbornness that caused them to resist the Holy Spirit. He reminded them of the Old Testament times when true men of God were persecuted because of their message. 

Jeremiah came to my mind as I read. These prophets spoke of the coming of the Messiah but were misunderstood, rejected, and killed. Stephen speaks to those who were ready to stone him, that they were uncircumcised in heart which indicated they were religious people who did not have a genuine relationship with God. Their circumcision was not of the heart but was outward ceremonial, religious, legalistic, and void of a personal encounter with Christ who is the One who circumcises the heart of those who come to him. 

He then accused them of killing the Savior that came. Now the point of this passage that came strong to my own heart was that Stephen took a stand against this fierce opposition that would stone him. He did not weaken, his message was strong, truthful and straight to the hearts of those rejecting his message and then killing him. 

Could I be so strong I have to ask myself? I cannot even answer that question that comes from my own heart.

Pastor Gerry Holloway

Pastor Gerald Holloway is the Senior Pastor of Word for the World Christian Fellowship.

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