Boldness from the Spirit
“Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”
The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Acts of the Apostles 7:52-58 NLT
Stephen was on trial for the miracles he has done in the name of Jesus. Stephen walked through the Old Testament stories from Abraham to Moses to set a precedent. He pointed out that throughout time, the Jews had a practice of persecuting prophets during their lifetime. Then he accused the religious leaders of betraying and murdering the Messiah—Jesus.
Talk about boldness. The followers of Jesus had prayed for boldness after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and Stephen definitely got his share of boldness.
The writer noted that Stephen was “full of the Holy Spirit.” His boldness came from that infilling. He was even given a glimpse into the heavens and saw Jesus “standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Interesting to note that when Jesus ascended to heaven, we are told He sat down at the Father’s right hand. But as Stephen was boldly declaring God’s truth and being persecuted—and about to be killed. Jesus is standing. Perhaps, Jesus stood to welcome Stephen into the presence of God.
I believe our boldness will always come from the fullness of the Spirit in our lives. When we take time to spend time in God’s presence, there will be a fullness of the Spirit in our lives that will give us boldness to face whatever challenge or temptation comes against us. It is impossible to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit with a microwave mentality. We need a crockpot experience with God, not a microwave one.
Closing thought—we get introduced to Saul in this passage. He is the young man by whom they lay their coats as they stone Stephen. Saul enters the biblical narrative in a small way considering that he is about to become the major character of the New Testament. His story is about to begin.
Holy Spirit, please help me to be willing to spend time in Your presence. Help me to discipline myself enough to wait on You and be filled with Your boldness. Help me to seek You daily.
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