Stephen paid the price of truth–with his life. Would we do the same?


Stephen was a deacon appointed by the apostles to care for the poor of Jerusalem.  Along the way he became a man transformed. After Stephen preached, the people hearing him “were cut to the heart”. Nevertheless, they did not repent. Rather, “they ground their teeth in anger at” Stephen. “The onlookers were shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears as they did so. Then they rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him”.

Stephen was not naive. He had an exceptional wisdom. Stephen was not a victim of circumstances. He knew what he was getting into. He risked and gave his life to be like Jesus. Stephen was courageous. He knew that Jesus had died violently to give us salvation, and Stephen was willing to imitate Him. Stephen was obedient. Like any human being, Stephen didn’t want to die a violent and painful death. Like Jesus, however, Stephen said to God the Father: “Not my will, but Yours be done”. Stephen was loving. Stephen, like Jesus, even forgave His murderers.

Stephen looked up and felt the spirit: he was not abandoned.  As he died, he begged God to forgive their sin.  The memory of Stephen stayed with Saul.  Stephen’s prayer put down roots.  If we do not hide our face, the witness of others will surely bring us back to life.

Stephen paid the price of truth–with his life. Would we do the same? At some point, we may have to speak the unvarnished truth, if we are faithful to Christ. Are we ready to pay the price? That price may not be having rocks thrown at you–literally–but when you speak the unpopular truth, even when the truth comes from God and His Church, you always pay in some fashion. You may be ostracized, even by family members. You may pay financially. Or you may pay with lost friendships. Or lost prestige.

But, in the end, to speak the truth of the gospel is worth all of this, and more. When we stand before God to be judged, the price we pay here on earth will seem small compared to the eternal reward of faithfulness to Christ.


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