by Dustin Dawe
So then what…? Let not your hearts be troubled.
Acts 7:55-60 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58 Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.[a]
If you didn’t know we were in the book of Acts and if you didn’t read the chapter headers, what does this story remind you of?
Verse 59 “They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’”.
This echoes Jesus’ words from the cross,“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Verse 60 “He knelt down, and cried with a loud voice”.
This echoes Jesus “crying with a loud voice” as he died on the cross (Luke 23:46)
Also verse 60 “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them”.
This echoes Jesus’ words from the cross,“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Verse 60 again “When he had said this, he died”.
This echoes the account of Jesus’ death, where Luke tells us, “Having said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).
Who are you in this story?
Stephen? Martyred for his words and actions.
Church Leaders? Throwing stones trying to protect your personal belief of who God is.
Angry Mob? Complicit in the church missing God moving in a new radical way.
John 14:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe[a] in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know[d] my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[e] for anything, I will do it.
In this text Jesus knows the disciples are troubled. So Jesus wants to help the disciples take the focus off their troubles and worries and shift that focus to God and what it means to be a part of God’s family. Even though the disciples didn’t fully understand what Jesus was talking about and they had questions, Jesus kept gently pointing them back to God and relationship between God, Jesus and the disciples. I believe that God desires us to be comforted in times of uncertainty but does not make our lives comfortable.
- What troubles our heart?
- What do we expect our lives to look like as Jesus Followers?
- How does life’s circumstances affect our relationship with God and with others?
See ya on Sunday!