I have had this thought come to my mind before: How would I handle being tortured for my love of Christ? I don’t worry about it I have only thought about it briefly in the past. It may not be happening in America yet, but it will happen eventually. I am not sure if I will still be around when it happens or not, but it sure seems as if we are headed in that direction. So what would you do if you were being tortured for the sake of Christ? I always thought that I would be as strong as I could be and pray that God would keep me strong where I was weak. I know in my heart that I wouldn’t deny Christ. I can only imagine how painful torture may be, but I do know no matter how strong the person inflecting pain upon me is, God is stronger! Today while reading Acts 7 I saw how Stephen handled it. When confronted with the accusations of blaspheming God Stephen kept to his words. See Stephen wasn’t blaspheming God he was telling the truth of Jesus and because the rulers and the elders hearts were hardened they thought Stephen was blaspheming God. In all reality he was being obedient to God. Their witness of the so-called blasphemy was so weak that they had to get others to lie about what they heard.
“they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.” (Acts 6:10)
Stephen went before the council of the people. In Acts 6:15 the Bible says that the council was looking at him and they “saw his face as the face of an angel”. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around that. Why was his face like an angel? Maybe he was so filled with the Holy Spirit he was glowing? In front of the council he had the chance to preach to them and whoever was around them at the time. Stephen must have been a little nervous about what might happen to him, but instead of taking the easy way out he took that opportunity to tell others about Jesus. He reminded them about what things had already taken place from the time that God told Abraham to leave his family and go to the land that God would show him. (Genesis 12:1) to the book of Isaiah where God says ““Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?” (Isaiah 66:1). Stephen goes on to tell them that they have killed all those prophets that tried to tell them about the coming of Christ. Then they killed Christ. 😦 After Stephen told them these things they became even more angry, took him out-of-town, and stoned him to death. That wasn’t all there was to Stephen’s death. God knew what was about to take place so He [God] gave Stephen a glimpse of heaven. I know that had to encourage Stephen in ways we may never know. Stephen actually saw the glory of God and Jesus on His right hand! (Acts 7:55) That tells me that if I am ever tortured for the cause of Christ God will encourage me in some way to. As Stephen was being tortured he knew he was about to die and he prayed “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59) After that he fell to his knees and prayed “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” That is so awesome and I can only pray that if I am ever tortured I will handle it like Stephen did. I don’t want to overlook the fact that Stephen’s prayer for the lost responsible for his death was very similar to Christ’s prayer when he died on the cross (Luke 23:34). Stephen was definitely in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
“Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56)