Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59; Psalm 31; Matthew 10:17-22
Accepting Jesus and becoming a follower has its cost but it is the way to life. Jesus promised we would meet opposition, and we do, in different forms. Stephen was the first to experience martyrdom. He was opposed, rather than runing away from death he offered his life saying: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” His death is portrayed like that of Jesus, forgiving his executioners and commending his spirit to the Lord. No man can do this except by the Spirit. Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. Beloved, we need the Holy Spirit. Martyrdom is the highest form of witnessing; no man can witness to Christ without the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel Jesus says “It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father.” Jesus prepares our minds that we shall be handed over to others and betrayed for believing in him. But those who stand ‘firm to the end will be saved’ Beloved, opposition should not make you change your position in Christ. Therefore, as we celebrate the feast of Saint Stephen today we are reminded of the price we must pay as we place our faith in the new born King. Beloved in Christ, dont give up.
Let us pray
Grant, Lord, we pray, that we may imitate what we worship, and so learn to love even our enemies, for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors. Give us your Spirit that we may persevere in trials and be triuphant in faith. Amen.