“You stubborn people! You are heathen[l] at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 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. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.” Acts 7:51-53
Stephen quoted these words to a group of his own people as well as high powered government officials. These words led to his death as he was stoned immediately after saying them. Even in his death, Stephen prayed to God to forgive his killers of their sins.
Stephen’s face lit up as an angel as he blew the whistle on his own people. They had all participated in denying Jesus and he accused them all of rejecting the truth. While he preached an amazing sermon, one man stood in the crowd. A seed was planted in this man’s heart. He was a murderer, and a hunter of Christians. He, too, saw the face of Stephen as he shined like the sun with his last dying words.
It must’ve been a cold day as Saul watched Stephen’s killers drop their coats, one by one, in front of his feet. Another apostle died for the cause of Christ. Saul may have been elated. So elated, that he began killing more and more Christians after this event. However, something stirred in the heart of Saul that he could not seem to shake. Something in Stephen’s words had a ring of truth.
Not long after that, on his pursuit to kill more Christians, Saul was struck again by “the light”. This time a voice from heaven said “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul was then ready for an introduction to the Savior of this world who commanded him to change his ways. That is exactly what Saul, now known as Paul did.
Stephen planted the seed, but God took the seed and blossomed the heart of a cold blooded killer. This killer would later become one of the greatest authors and preachers of all time. God moves in strange ways. He uses special affects unlike any imagined by mankind. His timing is perfect and no sin, great or small, is too big to be forgiven. God can use the words of a child or adult to pierce the hardest of hearts. Never stop believing in the power of our Sovereign Savior.