So [the men debating unsuccessfully with Stephen] persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, "We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God." This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council.
The lying witnesses said, "This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
— Acts 6:11-14 NLT
As we learn from the pursuit, persecution, and martyrdom of Jesus, adversaries propelled by hate and jealousy can be relentless in their attacks. When they cannot get what they want using the truth, then they manufacture lies, stretch the truth about their chosen enemy, and distort what this enemy said. Stephen followed the example of Christ in many ways. False witnesses lied about what Stephen had said just as they did about Jesus. Those who hated Jesus and Stephen falsely accused both of them of plotting to destroy the Temple. Stephen also asked for his tormentors to be forgiven and offered himself to God as he was dying, just as Jesus had done. While those who oppose the truth can be relentless, unfair, and unscrupulous, God's servants refuse to be. They choose to follow in their Master's steps. They know their future is secure in Jesus, the one who blazed the trail ahead of them.
O, dear Father, I want to be like Stephen and the Lord Jesus before him. I want to be faithful, full of righteous character, and practicing gracious compassion with those who oppose me, even if the opposition is threatening my life. I confess that I am not sure my faith is that strong. I believe. I trust. But in my flesh, I want fairness. I don't want to be mistreated by those who lie, plot, and deceive to bring me down. Strengthen me and forgive me as I seek the power of the Holy Spirit to transform me to be ever more like Jesus each day. In his name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Luke 23:34, 46; Acts 7:59-60
- Hebrews 2:10, 12:1-3
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Tuesday, March 28, 2023
About This Devotional
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.