Today's reading: Acts 7:51-53 (NIV)
51"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."
Stephen is exhausted and exasperated by now, his speech to the members of the Sanhedrin seemed to take forever and no one was really paying attention to him. He knows he must sum it up quickly. His words take on a different tone and right away two sentences end with exclamation marks.
There are times that I too exhaust myself emotionally when I am trying to explain myself with the right words but nothing happens. My voice gets louder, my speech quickens and I begin to repeat over and over the main point.
Stephen is trying to convince minds and save souls as he made this final attempt. He accused them of accepting God’s law but adamantly declared they did not follow it. Some of us can relate this to disciplining our children to have them remind us of our past indiscretions. Anger can take over and reactions are often harsh.
The foretelling of the coming of the Messiah runs throughout Old Testament scripture, and for the Jewish people to reject Jesus as the Messiah is to have uncircumcised hearts and ears. They adhered so strictly to the law of Moses that they just could not let their hearts be open to this revealed truth.
Why is it that we humans close our hearts and ears? We do it to each other; we do it to friends and family who are the very people we are closest to. Perhaps the Sanhedrin thought it a sign of weakness to believe the message that had come from their own scripture.
There will always be people so far from the Lord that we yearn for them to open their hearts. The Lord’s message of salvation is not over; we are His disciples just as Stephen was. We must embrace the power of the Holy Spirit and speak with all courage, power, wisdom and truth and the spirit will do the work of penetrating souls.
I don’t want to let my ego get the best of me. I want the Lord to have the best of me and that means I must continually seek opportunities to share the good news of the risen savior.