but they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named saul. [acts 7:57-58]
a young man named stephen
these people hated stephen and they hated what stephen stood for. in these verses we see the death of a young man who stood boldly in his faith to the very end. stephen gave an astonishingly powerful sermon, knowing that the likely result would be his own death. yet this was not the end. in the power of the Holy Spirit, stephen entrusted his final words to God’s glory and honor. we hope to see an immediate result to his message: perhaps a mass conversation of all the persecutors of the faith changing their hearts to accept the truth of God and join the family of believers. yet this doesn’t happen. they once again work to destroy anyone speaking the truth of God.
a young man named saul
there is another young man in this narrative. this young man named saul is not bold, but simply going along with the crowd, believing that what he is doing is right. saul surely thought that siding with the priests and leaders of his nation against this rabble rouser was the correct course of action. after all, Jesus was known to be a troublemaker, so surely as of his followers were as well.
yet we cannot write him off.
we know that God will one day work through saul just as powerfully as he worked through stephen. the same Holy Spirit that empowered one young man would soon empower the other.
even in the most terrifying of circumstances, God was at work. God’s word, spoken clearly and unashamedly, held a power that could pierce the heart of anyone. that same word continues to capture hearts and minds today even when we don’t.
~ jason soroski