Friday, January 13, 2023
“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).
Is hearing the Word of God enough?
By the time of Acts chapter 7, Israel’s one-year extension to repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom is nearly over (see Luke 13:6-9, noting “this year” in verse 8 follows Christ’s “three years” of earthly ministry). Stephen recounts Israel’s long history of unbelief—climaxing in Jesus’ rejection and crucifixion. He winds down his sermon with the following: “ Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One [Christ Jesus]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:  Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”
Israel’s unbelieving leadership responds: “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (verse 54). Rather than admitting their sin, they proceeded to physically assault Stephen, yet the worst is to come! “ But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Yes, they heard the Word of God, but they did not receive it in faith, so it cost God’s preacher Stephen his life.
Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….