Unstoppable! 'Genuine Sorrow' — Acts 8:1-4

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Saul was one of the witnesses [to Stephen's being stoned to death], and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

— Acts 8:1-4 NLT

Key Thought

While we have looked at victorious faith over the last few days, we must not minimize the grief faced by those left behind when someone they love dies. John's disciples, along with his cousin Jesus, mourned John the Baptizer's death. Jesus wept at Martha's and Mary's grief and reacted with deep emotion to the pain that Lazarus' death caused in those who knew him. In our eternal relationship with Jesus, death is a moment; life with Jesus is forever. That moment of death, however, is agonizing for those of us left behind. We must deal with the loss of someone we love. We have to deal with death even when it feels unfair and capricious. Jesus' resurrection empowers us past the fear of death, but the Lord's tears are our reminder never to minimize the pain death brings.

Today's Prayer

Precious Father, please bless those who are on my heart because of the grief they bear. Use me to be a blessing and a source of encouragement and comfort. However, dear Father, I ask that you give me wisdom not to say anything that might be hurtful or might minimize the loss they feel. Please pour out your comfort into their hearts through the Holy Spirit. I ask for your grace to be their peace. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 11:31-36; Hebrews 2:14-15
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 5:11

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 8:1-4 NLT — Saul was one of the witnesses [to Stephen's being stoned to death], and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

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.