Jonah and Jeremiah were prophets of God. They viewed their responsibilities in this capacity differently. Jonah was a half-hearted prophet. He was not interested in seeing his enemies get saved. Jeremiah, whole heartedly, prophesized God’s message of repentance to backsliding Israel.
This week we will look at other men who presented God’s word. Noah, Philip, Jonah, Peter, and Stephen. Were these men faithful to God’s call and how did it change the lives of others.
STEPHEN FIRST MARTYR FOR CHRIST
Stephen’s life was cut short because his bold witness for Christ. His sermon of Israel’s history, disobedience to the Law of God, idol worship, and persecuting and killing of the prophets who foretold of the coming of Jesus, caused the religious leaders to have him stoned.
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:51-56)
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:57-60)
It is unlikely that we will have the opportunity to be martyred for Christ. However, daily, hundreds die as martyrs for their belief in Christ. Christianity is still despised and ridiculed in many parts of the world.
So, when we are scared, afraid, or concerned what others will think about our witness, think about those who die for what they believe. Then boldly go and tell others about Jesus.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001