Unstoppable! 'Rejecting the Message of God's Spirit' — Acts 7:51-53

Thursday, April 15, 2021

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[Stephen moved from reviewing Jewish history in response to the accusation against him to challenging his accusers by saying,] "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One — the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God's law, even though you received it from the hands of angels."
— Acts 7:51-53 NLT

Key Thought

We could easily mislabel Stephen's boldness as unwise audacity. God vindicated his passion through the work of the Holy Spirit in his message and his martyrdom. God sent Jesus as his Son to his people who rejected him just as they had rejected the prophets before him. However, their rejection did not lead to the defeat of the unstoppable Good News of Jesus; it spread that message with Jesus' disciples going to the nations. Stephen's harsh words provoked a strong reaction. God used the persecution that followed to cause his people to leave Jerusalem, and he empowered them to reach out to all peoples, not just to Jews that lived in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-4; cf. Acts 1:8). People may reject the message empowered by the Holy Spirit, but they cannot stop that message!

Today's Prayer

O Father, please fuel our passion with the boldness and power of the Holy Spirit. We want to be your people who share an unstoppable message of hope and life in the face of despair, fear, division, and separation. We commit to be courageous, but we ask you to fuel our courage with the power of your Spirit. In the mighty name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, we ask for your powerful help. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 24:44-52
  • Acts 1:8, 8:1-4

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 7:51-53 NLT — [Stephen moved from reviewing Jewish history in response to the accusation against him to challenging his accusers by saying,] "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One — the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God's law, even though you received it from the hands of angels."

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.