39. Stoning and a crown of glory
The 5th grade trained well and were looking forward to the national sport contests. Everyone did his or her best. And at the final ceremony, one could see the glowing faces of those who received a prize.
Stan ran like a champion. Imagine if he had started out well, ran his fastest, passed all the others and just before the finish line, he had sat down on the sidelines and gave up. Unthinkable. Whoever starts well should run well and keep the pace.
This also applies to anyone who lives with Jesus. In the faith it’s important to begin life with Jesus, but then it depends on how we run and persist in it. Jesus helps us, and I see how He did it with Stephen. There were many people who wanted to dissuade him from believing. We read in the Bible that these people came and started an argument. But Stephen didn’t enter into it. And that made everyone very mad. They spread ugly lies all over the place about Stephen, a man who believed in God and who helped the poor. Stephen even had to appear in court.
Prosecutor: “Stephen insulted God and said things that go against the law.”
Judge: “Is this accusation true?”
Everyone stared at Stephen. His face shone like the face of an angel. Instead of defending himself, he began to tell them about Jesus.
Stephen: “The Son of God came to earth. You crucified Him on the cross. But God raised Him from the dead.”
Even in court Stephen was faithful to the Lord Jesus. Then he looked up into heaven and said:
Stephen: “I see the heavens opened up and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
With these words the angry crowd rushed upon him. They beat him, dragged him out of town and stoned him. Stephen persisted and remained faithful to Jesus. They stoned him to death. Before he died, he prayed.
Stephen: “Lord Jesus, I come to you in heaven; forgive them their sins.”
The path to the goal was difficult. But Stephen remained faithful. And for that, Jesus gave him a crown of glory. Trusting Jesus and being faithful is always worth it, for difficulties, hate and scorn don’t have the final word. The best is yet to come.
People: Narrator, prosecutor, judge, Stephen
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