I want to be like Stephen. Stephen was a disciple of the Lord in the first-century church. He was one of seven men chosen as the church’s first deacons. His story starts in Acts 6 and runs through chapter 7. You will be blessed if you read these two chapters.
I want to be like Stephen whom the Bible says was full of faith and the Holy Spirit (v. 5), God’s grace and power (v. 8 ), and wisdom (v. 10) And it showed. It showed in his service to the church as he ministered to the widows in need. It showed as he “did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (v. 8 ). And it showed in the way he faced opposition. Some unbelieving Jews dragged him before the Sanhedrin and charged him with blasphemy. Standing before his accusers, Stephen had an other-worldly expression about him. “His face was like the face of an angel” (v. 15)
I want to be like Stephen because he was full of holy boldness. He did not cower or shrink back nor did he try to defend himself against the false accusations. He told the story of Israel, a stiff-necked people who had rebelled against God for generations. The same people who rejected God in the flesh (Acts. 7:1-53). You’re probably not surprised to learn that Stephen infuriated the religious leaders, even though he simply told them the truth. He was dragged out of the city and stoned to death (v. 57).
I want to be like Stephen because Jesus was pleased with him. As he faced his “punishment,” he was given a glimpse of the Lord in all His glory. Christ stood to receive His into the fullness of His Kingdom (vv. 55-58).
I want to be like Stephen because, even in his death, he was a man of godly influence. Standing among the crowd, “giving approval to his death,” was a young man named Saul (8:1). We’ll encounter him again as Paul – the persecutor of the Christian church who became her first missionary and writer of much of the New Testament.
I want to be like Stephen who was the first martyr for the Christian faith. To the church, he died a hero. To the world, he died a fool. But to the Lord Jesus Christ, he died a good and faithful servant. And that’s all I want to be.