Kill The Messenger

Written by Frank Jamerson.

The Jews in Jerusalem were not the first, nor last, to have the philosophy that the way to deal with a message that you do not like is to attack and destroy the messenger. 

Stephen had reviewed the history of the Jewish nation and shown that over and over they had persecuted and even killed God’s messengers, and now those in his audience had become betrayers and murderers of the Just One (Acts 7:52). In contrast to those on Pentecost who had been “cut to the heart” and obeyed (Acts 2:37,38) , these were “cut to the heart” and gnashed at Stephen with their teeth, stopped their ears and took up stones to kill him.

Many lessons could be gained from  Luke’s account, but notice especially two comparisons between Jesus and Stephen.

First, while Jesus was hanging on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). On the day of Pentecost, Peter accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus by lawless hands (Acts 2:32,36). They were convicted of their sins and asked what to do to be saved (v. 37). They were told what to do (v. 38) and about three thousand obeyed (v. 41). Stephen made the same request, “Lord do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60). We know one man present that day who later obeyed Christ and Stephen’s prayer was answered (Acts 7:58; 9:1-19; 22:16).

Second, as Jesus prayed, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Lk. 23:46), Stephen made the same request (Acts 7:59). The spirit of Jesus did not cease to exist when His body died, neither did the spirit of Stephen. Those who are faithful to Christ can live with the assurance that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain…(and) to depart and be with far better” than anything we experience on this earth (Phil. 1:21-23).

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