This past Sunday at Grace Bible Church, our pastor preached a powerful sermon about the stoning of Stephen. It culminated in a great example of forgiveness. As Stephen was dying, his prayer was for the forgiveness of his executioners.
“Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them!’ Having said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60, NASB).
Stephen followed the great example of our Savior as He was dying on the cross. “But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing…’” (Luke 23:34, NASB). He not only asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him, but we as believers, whose sins put Him on that cross, know He has also forgiven us.
We, as humans, cannot forgive sin in the same way God can, but we can forgive in our hearts. How often do we hold grudges and harbor ill-will?
“See to it that … no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled?” (Hebrews 12:15).
We have great examples of forgiveness in Stephen and ultimately in our Lord Jesus Christ.
You can hear this sermon here. You will be blessed.