Speaking of Life 5024 | Describing the Indescribable
Have you ever tried to describe a moment so wonderful that it defies your best efforts? How do you describe the feeling of watching the sunset over the mountains or the moment you held your child for the first time? Trying to share the things that fill us with such awe that can leave us at a loss for words.
Sharing the gospel can be like that too. We struggle with the task of sharing such a momentous message. We convince ourselves that if only we were filled with God’s grace and power if we could work miracles or were gifted with Spirit-guided wisdom so impactful that no one could argue against us: Maybe then, people would listen when we proclaim the Gospel.
In the book of Acts, we’re told that Stephen had all these things going for him. He performed wonders and described a spectacular vision of Jesus at the Father’s side.
Luke shares with us Stephen’s final impassioned message. It’s filled with relevant references and helpful comparisons for his listeners and concludes with a convicting call for accountability. The response of those who heard Stephen’s skilled oratory was one of anger, rage, and violence. At this point it might seem like the story of Stephen was included as a cautionary tale about a man who chose poorly his moment to become confrontational and inflammatory.
But this is no cautionary tale, Luke makes this clear when he begins and ends the account of Stephen by stressing that Stephen was Spirit-led. This is a story of encouragement, meant to remind us of how to share the Gospel both powerfully and graciously.
Before he was dragged out of the city to be stoned, Stephen described his vision of Christ’s glory:
Look… I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.
This was neither eloquent nor deep in theological exposition – this was a simple declaration of the Gospel so powerful that those present gnashed their teeth and blocked their ears!
Stephen was not the problem; the problem was who he was talking about – Jesus.
In the midst of being stoned to death, Stephen shows his godly love for his assailants by asking God to forgive them – imitating Jesus to the very end.
People will oppose us when we preach Jesus. Nevertheless, let’s be like Stephen, Spirit-led even unto death.
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.