Advent Reflection #26
With just a few days left in Advent, today’s passage changes the mood a bit. We have received the birth of the infant Jesus; remember that we also anticipate the return of Christ our King.
Stephen was the first of the early Christians martyrs – of whose number was many. He was obedient to Jesus, despite knowing what it would cost him. With his death immanent, Luke tells us that Stephen gazed into the heavens, “and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the God!'” For Stephen this gives him great joy and hope. Those around him, though, covered their ears, and attacked him. This brazen proclamation of Jesus’s lordship and divinity, was too much. Soon Stephen would be dead.
In dying, though, Stephen concurred all. He died in Christ, and was delivered into his arms. The surety of his conviction, emboldened others to stand with equal courage in the face of persecution. The faith in this Jesus, as the promised Messiah would only spread. Truly, His Kingdom would have no end.
Do not forget where Jesus’s strange and simple birth lead. Our journey to the stable, beckons us onward – even unto this cross. This is the costly journey of discipleship.
Will you walk it? Jesus beckons.
Praise you Lord Jesus.