The Idol Babbler

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Where a former idolator babbles about what has been learned since walking with Christ
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Comparing The Last Words Of Both Zechariah And Stephen As They Were Both Stoned To Death

Sat, 06/01/2024 - 17:22

While reading about Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24, I could not help thinking about how this scene was similar to the scene in Acts 7 where it also describes a stoning (the martyrdom of Stephen). In both scenarios the Jewish leadership orders the execution of someone who calls out their disloyalty to Yahweh. In Zechariah’s case he quotes God, telling the leaders about why God has abandoned them. In Stephen’s case he reiterates Israelite history and how they resisted the Spirit of God, telling the hearers about how they also do the same. As they are both dying, the final words of both Zechariah and Stephen are recorded as follows:

2 Chronicles 24:20-22 (HCSB) – The Spirit of God took control of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood above the people and said to them, “This is what God says, ‘Why are you transgressing the LORD’S commands and you do not prosper? Because you have abandoned the LORD, He has abandoned you.’” But they conspired against him and stoned him at the king’s command in the courtyard of the LORD’S temple. King Joash didn’t remember the kindness that Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had extended to him, but killed his son. While he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and demand an account.”

Acts 7:51-60 (HCSB) – “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your ancestors did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They even killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.” When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep.

Something to Learn?

I’m not sure if my observation has merit, but it just strikes me that there might be something to learn when we see the difference in how the two martyrs react to their execution; one is pre-Messiah’s coming and the second is post-Messiah’s coming. Now in both cases, the executing party ought to know better and their actions need to be addressed. However, in the second scenario (post-Messiah’s coming) something has changed. There is no longer a need to respond to the leaders’ shortcomings by appealing to judgement, but something different… forgiveness.

Look again at the final words of both to see what I mean:

Zechariah (pre-Messiah’s coming):

“May the LORD see and demand an account.”

Stephen (post-Messiah’s coming):

“Lord, do not charge them with this sin!”

My point is not to say that Zechariah’s response was less appropriate than that of Stephen’s, but that maybe the coming of the Messiah has changed the complexion of what a proper response to adversity looks like (especially post-Messiah’s coming as opposed to pre-Messiah’s coming). If I’m right, perhaps we believers should consider asking ourselves this question:

Should we now respond to our challenges (post-Messiah’s coming) more like Zechariah or more like Stephen?

Godspeed, to the brethren!

Photo source: https://thegenevanfoundation.com/ministries-martyrs-the-twelve-apostles-and-key-early-church-figures/

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A Little Detail That Shows How Caring God Is

Sun, 05/05/2024 - 18:03

Matthew 11:1 (HCSB)When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

It struck me how this little detail about how Jesus had made an effort “to teach and preach in their towns,” must have been helpful for the disciples’ families and also the local communities from where they all had come from. Why? Well, by Jesus going back into the disciples’ hometowns, the folks back home were at least given an opportunity by Jesus Himself to know the reason why the disciples had suddenly left all to follow this rabbi from Nazareth. To me, this little nugget shows how caring God is…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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