Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen.
Stephen shared his testimony which included quite a sermon. However, the people present did not want to hear the truth. Not only did they not want to hear it but it made them angry!
More than likely Stephen hadn’t really finished his message but they couldn’t take it anymore. They became enraged because his words had touched their hearts. This was too personal and now they began to gnash their teeth. They were furious and literally became like a pack of hungry and snarling wolves, grinding their teeth. The sermon was over, and Stephen knew his life was over as well.
There are times when the truth of the gospel will not only frustrate people, but will make them angry. And not just a little angry, but possibly furious.
Stephen was martyred because he lived out is faith in every aspect of his life. God is calling up a people who are willing to be sacrificed in service to him. There are parts of the world today where people will lose their lives for the Lord. In other parts of the world Christians will be mistreated.
However, on the ordinary every-day level there will also be challenges — challenges to serve God faithfully in the midst of those who may be uncomfortable with our witness. Sadly, those who opposed Stephen were the religious leaders. They literally became rabid when confronted with the truth of the gospel. When we are presented with Christ and the light of his reflection begins to shine into the dark recesses of our lives, we can become pretty uncomfortable. God’s people who have consistently convinced themselves that they are doing okay spiritually while not wanting to deal with their spiritual deficiencies can become the angriest in the light of Christ. This is when the gnashing of teeth can begin.
Stephen remains an example for us all. His life and death was a testimony to his faith in Christ. We may experience some gnashing of teeth, but in that moment may we look above and see our Savior standing at the right hand of the Father, drawing us ever into his holy presence. Even in that moment, Stephen remained faithful and reflected Christ to the world. Gnashing teeth — maybe. Faithfulness — always.
Lord, please help me to be a faithful witness to you in all things. Amen.
If you would like to read more "Reflecting the Image" click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.