Read Acts 7:51-60

vv 59-60   As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

What we read about in the life of Jesus yesterday we now see reflected in Stephen’s reaction to being stoned to death. His prayerful plea was that his persecutors might find forgiveness and freedom from being condemned for their brutal attack. This is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he said ‘I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.’

The writer to Hebrews dealt with the same kind of issue when he wrote:

‘And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:2-4)

Persecution in our society these days might take a very different form, but generally there is tolerance in the area of faith – but that is not the case in many other lands. Our life is – at present – orderly and free of such hardship. So remember to pray for those who live in totally different circumstances, that they will know how to respond to restrictions and persecution, demonstrating the love of Jesus for their enemies.

 

Wednesday 10th February Daily Notes from The Hub