Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Feast of St Stephen, the first martyr.

"You will be hated by all because of my name." 
(Matthew 10: 22).

December 26th, a day after Christmas is the feast of St Stephen, the 1st martyr of the Christian Era.

We still have 3 full weeks of the Christmas season. A season of festivities, rich food and choice wines, music and merry making.  Why spoil the fun with a gory story of bloody and cruel killing?  Is it because birth and death are opposite sides of the same coin?  Listen to the Book of Ecclesiastes:
"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die."  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 2).

Jesus Christ promised His followers that "You will be hated by all because of my name."   (Matthew 10: 22).

Stephen was the first disciple to bear witness. The word witness in Greek means martyr.
Who is Stephen?  His profile is Christ-like:
"Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people."  (Acts 6: 8).

He [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  (Acts 7: 55).

What can we learn from the life of St Stephen?
#1.  There is a price to pay in honest and genuine Christian life.
#2.  Nobody can live this life without the help of the promised Paraclete (Helper).
#3.  Jesus Christ is the "true and faithful witness."  He leads by word and example.  He fulfills every promise He makes.

So do not be afraid....
"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say."  (Matthew 10: 19).

Jesus Christ will be the rock of refuge, a stronghold to save you.  He will always be your rock and fortress.  Trust in His holy and powerful name. (Cf Psalm 31: 3 - 4).


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