The word of God will not return void
The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they 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 died. Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. Act 7:55–8:1
The religious leaders were infuriated to Stephen because he told them how blinded they were about Jesus. He told them that Jesus is the Messiah. The Sanhedrin witnessed how the face of Stephen shone with brightness as though it were that of an angel. “At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s” (Acts 6:15). They had Stephen arrested hoping that he would stop preaching about Jesus, yet the more he continued speaking to the point that they screamed to drown out his voice and put their hands over their ears so they would not have to listen to him anymore (Acts 7:57). Included among the religious leaders was Saul. He was there when he heard Stephen prayed for the forgiveness of the people who had stoned him to death. He was there listening when Stephen boldly preached the gospel to the Sanhedrin. You might think that what a tragedy that Stephen had to die because all he wanted to do is for people to hear the gospel. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we told that Stephen did even reached thousands or even hundreds of people with the gospel. And yet, the message of salvation reached Saul of Tarsus. Because Stephen was obedient to God’s command to “go and make disciples of all the nations...” (Matthew 28:19), Saul heard the message and responded because the Holy Spirit convicted him of his need of a Savior. He later did what Stephen had done standing up before people even to religious leaders to share the message that Jesus is the Savior. And just like Stephen, Saul who later became known as Paul, was arrested and several times even left for dead because he will not stop sharing the gospel. Stephen did what he had to do just as what Paul had to do. Paul, at the end his life was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7). Remain faithful even if people are turning a deaf ear to what you are saying about your faith regarding your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Always remember Stephen’s example that the word of God will not return void. “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit” (Isaiah 55:11).
Noel De Guzman