As I began typing out this passage, I had a specific thought in mind to share in this post. But as I kept typing, all of these different thoughts and ideas starting popping in my mind. So, instead of me focusing on one thought for a few paragraphs, I wanted to share quickly each thought that came to mind.
But he full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,...
Stephen was experiencing a sight that not many have ever experienced, while those who resisted the Holy Spirit (7:51) went into a frenzy because of the fact that they were confronted with the truth. It is only because of Jesus that we are able to look upon the glory of God — only by his sacrificed and resurrected life is it possible
It is also amazing to me how much the Holy Spirit can impact a life that is submitted and surrendered to him. Perspectives change and lives are impacted because of the difference of being filled by the Holy Spirit. Those who had resisted the Holy Spirit were throwing a tantrum. The one filled by the Holy Spirit was experiencing a view of heaven. What a difference.
...and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
What am I doing everything that I am doing for? Am I doing it for the applause of others or for the ovation of Jesus? So often Jesus is described as the one seated at the right hand of the Father. However, in this verse, he is described as standing. There was no necessity in Jesus standing. He could have remained seated. So why stand? Here's my take: because of what Stephen was about to go through. Jesus could relate with Stephen and his murder because Jesus too had experienced the same treatment from those same "tantrum throwers". So he stood to honor Stephen who was about to die because of his love for Jesus. And Stephen saw it.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
As Jesus died on the cross, he cried out to the Father to do the very same thing that Stephen was asking of Jesus to do. What does this show me? That Jesus has the same power and authority that the Father has. Jesus is not a created being or a little god. Rather, he is LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!
And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
While he was being murdered, Stephen asked the Lord to forgive those who were murdering him. How does this happen? How does a man who is being killed pray for the forgiveness of his killers while they are in the act of killing him? Here's the key: "But he, full of the Holy Spirit,..." It wasn't Stephen. It was the Holy Spirit in Stephen. And when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, he can't help but sound like Jesus.
And so here was my prayer this morning after reading this passage:
Please fill me completely and to overflowing today so that Christ may be made manifest and be exalted in and through me. I want my life to be done, leaving only you in me, exalting Jesus to the glory of the Father. None of me. All of you. Please continue your work of destroying me and making me more and more like Jesus.