Scripture: Acts 7:59-60
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen was killed for proclaiming Jesus Christ as, “the Righteous One.” He told them things about Jesus that they did not want to accept. They were so upset they, “covered their ears and yelled at the top of their voices.” They stoned Stephen to silence him. Then he cried out to Jesus to receive his spirit and asked for forgiveness for those who killed him.
The most remarkable thing about this text, in my opinion, is that Stephen asked for forgiveness for those who killed him with his last breath. How was he able to extend this measure of grace to those who killed him? Would I be able to extend that kind of forgiveness? I think Stephen’s remarkable ability to forgive comes from his great appreciation for his own forgives. He knows the debt that Jesus paid for him, so he is willing to release the debts of others. When we have trouble letting go of offenses, we can look to Stephen’s example and remember the cross. Our forgiveness gives us the strength to forgive others.
Lord God, thank You for the forgiveness You give us through the cross. Help us to appreciate the sacrifice of Christ and forgive others in the same way. In Jesus name, Amen.