Unstoppable! 'Death Is Only Sleeping for Those Belonging to Jesus' — Acts 7:59-60

Saturday, April 20, 2024

As [his enraged accusers] 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 [fell asleep].
— Acts 7:59-60 NLT

Key Thought

Our translation (The New Living Translation) doesn't pick up the language of the original. Luke literally wrote that Stephen "fell asleep"! I want us to think about Luke's choice of this image for death. By faith, the first followers of Jesus believed that they were never separated from Jesus (Romans 8:32-39); death was little more than being asleep in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 ESV). We are taught to have the same faith. In the presence of the all-powerful Son of God, death was defeated — remember Jairus' daughter, the widow's son, and Lazarus? A believer's body may cease to have life, but the child of God is alive "with Christ" (Philippians 1:19-24) and will receive a new glorious body when he returns in his glory (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).

Today's Prayer

O Father, thank you for life that no one can steal from me. I trust that you have hidden my life with Christ and that I will share in his glory when he comes. I believe that nothing can separate me from my Savior's love and future. So, dear Father, give me courage in the face of life's most difficult challenges — even my own death — to believe and anticipate sharing in your glory because of Jesus! Amen.

See Colossians 3:1-4 for our assurance of such hope!

Related Scripture Readings

  • Philippians 1:19-24; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 7:59-60 NLT — As [his enraged accusers] 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 [fell asleep].

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.