Bible Heroes - Stephen And The Angry Jews
How strong is your faith? How determined are you to stand up for Jesus? Would you ever deny our Lord? How long could you endure being persecuted in the name of God? Are you love for God bigger than any love in your life? Would you die for God, as His son died for you?
These questions were readily answered by a man named Stephen so many years ago. He was persecuted and ridiculed because he taught that all people could be saved, and delivered from hell’s fire. Many of the Jews were angry because they thought salvation was only for them. As Stephen preached of salvation for all who would believe in God, the crowd of angry Jews became irate. They planned and schemed to have Stephen put to death.
The first man to be stoned to death for being a true believer in Jesus Christ was a man named Stephen. This poem of Stephen is the next entry into the Bible Heroes collection that I wrote.
A church in Jerusalem, people gave freely
To the widows, the less fortunate, and needy
Their time was taken delivering donations
No time was left to deliver an education
The apostles agreed, to select seven men
Who are spirit filled, and talk against sin
One man was special out of the seven:
He gave the gifts, and still talked of Heaven.
Preached so strong, they could feel God’s power
If he talked of brimstone, they felt the fire!
Stephen knew salvation was not only for Jews
All believing in God could be saved too
Stephen preached of God’s love so well
And that “Gentiles” could be saved from hell
This infuriated some Jews in the church
To complete their evil, they did the absurd
They called many who agreed to lie
And talk against Stephen; they testified
These people lying; they already knew
Of Ananias, and the lot that he drew
He had lied, and was quickly struck dead
They hoped Stephen would pay that debt
They convinced men of Stephen’s false sin
But God in Heaven Judges all men
They brought Stephen to the counsel of men
To answer the charges they placed on him
The priest asked, “Are these things so?”
With spirit filled valor, Stephen then spoke
“You people of hard hearts, I’m here to say
You’ve turned your back on all God’s ways
Through generations starting with Abraham,
There is but one God, the Great I Am!
God has sent blessings time and again
You turned your backs, oh foolish men!”
These accusations, although they were true
Were not received well by the Irate Jews
They ran toward Stephen as starving beasts
They gnashed at him with their nails and teeth
Stephen then looked at Heaven and said,
“Jesus is not sitting, but He’s standing instead”
The Jews heard this; they covered their ears
Hearing this filled them with anger and fears
For they knew two reasons Jesus would stand
To plea, or either to judge people of the land
They dragged Stephen from the counsel room
They took him outside to finish his doom
As they stoned him, Stephen just prayed,
“Receive my spirit, Oh Lord this day”
Last words of Stephen were for these men,
“Oh Lord hold not this sin against them.”
The stoning continued until Stephen died
The first man to be slain for Jesus Christ
Amid all the pain and heartache, Stephen thought of others. His prayer was for the men who brought him to such doom. He died a very honorable but tragic death. In his vision, he saw Jesus standing. Could Jesus have been standing to accept him home? Could Jesus have been standing in protest of the stoning of Stephen? Could Jesus have been standing to bring judgment against the angry Jews?