The hymn “I Surrender All” is a testimony of one, who in obedience to the Holy Spirit, discovered that when we yield, God opens the fount of blessing that had been hidden in the cleft of the rock but shielded from view by our faltering steps. When God calls you to His side, one of the first things he does is ask you to step out in obedience to Him and then provides a test to see if we are worthy to be called his disciple. He calls you just as he did Abraham, Joseph, and Moses which was the text of Stephen’s message before the religious council. All of these biblical heroes of the faith stepped out in faith and yet each was tested that they might be found pure and holy in His sight. Where is God testing you at this moment in time? In what area has he called you to be a part of his work and you have yet to totally surrender?
The fruit does not fall far from the tree is an old saying that reflects the truth that even though we deny it, we more often than not are mimicking the examples of our forefathers and this was true of the religious leaders. Three false charges leads to one message: you are unbelieving rejecting Israelites just as of old. These religious leaders had the Promised Messiah in their very midst “Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know –“ [Acts]. With great power and miracles before their eyes still the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus and asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He rightly answered “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”
After the death of Jesus, three times now these religious leaders have had the extended hand of mercy from God as they have witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of which they had not received, through the healing of the lame man and the power of the Word in Peter and John and now in Stephen. This will be God’s extended hand of mercy yet again as anointed Stephen revealed their true uncircumcised heart and ears as they continued to resist the Holy Spirit just as their ancestors did.
Beloved, when God presents opportunities to be His witness are we as anointed, prepared and courageous as Stephen? Are we ready to be a martyr for Jesus? But even more importantly, when and if we are called to stand for Christ are we not only willing but able to say: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”?
Beloved, are you totally surrendered to Jesus?