What Does it Cost?
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 130:1-4 | 1 Kings 5:1-6:38 | Acts 7:1-29 | Proverbs 16:28-30
Today’s Scripture Focus: Acts 7:1-29
At this point everyone in the council stared at Stephen because his face became as bright as an angel’s. Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these accusations true?” (Acts 7:1 NIV).
Stephen was quite a man of God. He is described as a man “full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” “full of God’s grace and power” and one who spoke with “wisdom and the Spirit.” He was a powerful preacher and God used him to accomplish incredible signs and wonders. He walked in intimacy with Jesus to such an extent that his face radiated the glory of God—so much so that it amazed his accusers.
But his accusers unfairly charged him with false teaching and blasphemy. They brought out false witnesses and stirred up the crowds and religious leaders against him.
How would Stephen handle the pressure? He became the fulfillment of the prayers of the church for boldness rather than safety. He stood up to the accusers and preached the truth boldly, full well knowing that it might cost him his life. Indeed it did.
What would cause a man like Stephen to risk it all for the sake of the Gospel? He had a relationship with the Risen Christ. He knew the reality of his resurrection power. He was willing to risk it all to share the good news with others who needed to encounter the one who is the truth—Jesus.
Also, he was already living with eyes focused on the life that is eternal. The one with the eternal perspective knows that the troubles of this life are not worth being compared to the glory that is to be revealed in the next.
In the words of a 20th century martyr, Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Such a perspective gives us the boldness we need to risk everything for Jesus.
Father, thank you for the example of Stephen who risked everything for the sake of the gospel. Give us boldness and courage to stand strong for truth. Amen.