Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Extreme Wisdom

James 1:5

Witnesses falsely testified against him. “We heard him cursing Moses and God. This man talks nonstop against God’s law. We even heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth would tear this place down and throw out all the customs Moses gave us.”

The chief priest of the high counsel turned to the defendant. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Calmly he rose, and his gentle tone changed. “Your ancestors killed anyone who dared talk about the coming of the Jesus. And you’ve kept up your religious traditions—you traitors and murderers, all of you. You had God’s law handed to you by angels—gift wrapped!—and you squandered it!”

Screams and curses broke out in response, but Stephen was undeterred. He looked up into heaven and declared, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!” They blocked their ears with their hands, rushed him, and dragged him outside of the city. One of the Pharisees named Saul quietly collected the robes of the others so that Stephen’s blood wouldn’t stain them.

As the stones began to pound Stephen’s body, he cried out, “Master Jesus, take my life.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.

Keeping cool in the face of difficult situations is the wisest move. Things as trivial as being cut off in traffic, receiving a low grade in school, and being reprimanded on the job are all it takes these days to lose it. However, maneuvering through uncommonly stressful situations takes more than common sense. It takes divine wisdom. When faced with false accusations and even the threat of death, Stephen exercised true wisdom. He did not retaliate. He did not curse his accusers. He simply clung to what he knew to be true and what the Pharisees refused to believe—Jesus is the Son of God. This same Jesus who embraced Stephen as he died will also embrace you when you need the wisdom that only comes from God.

Readings taken from
Extreme Devotion: The Voice of the Martyrs


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