(44-53) Stephen’s Speech
Stephen concludes his speech with a reminder that God does not live in houses made by human hands. For years, the people of Israel worshiped the One Who delivered them from bondage in a tent. It was noble for David to dream a dream of building a proper house to God, and it was equally noble for Solomon to make his father’s dream a reality. It is good that we have church buildings to worship God in today, but even they are not perfectly adequate to contain all the power and glory of God. How can one building or even one thousand buildings hold the Creator of the entire universe?
(54-60) The Stoning of Stephen
The people were enraged because Stephen simply spoke the truth of the Gospel. Their rage did not make him afraid because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. His eyes, heart, and mind were focused on Heaven instead of the hate that boiled around him. Just as he sought to follow Him in life, Stephen also imitated his Savior in death. When Jesus the Christ was dying on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Likewise, Stephen prays that his Heavenly Father will not hold the sin of murder against the people who are stoning him.
The end of this passage does not say that Stephen died, but that he fell asleep. The passing of life unto death is not THE END for the believer. It is but “a summons to the Father’s palace…an undressing from sins and infirmities…the end of terrors, the commencement of glory” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).
Favorite verse: (55) But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.