St. Stephen, Martyr

2 Chronicles 24:17–22
Acts 6:8–7:2a, 51–60
Matthew 23:34–39

St. Stephen, Martyr

The Christ is born in the land of Judah, but His own people will not receive Him. As it was in the days of Joash, so it is also in the days of Herod and Pilate. The Lord “sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord … but they would not pay attention” (2 Chron. 24:19). As Zechariah was being stoned, he cried out, “May the Lord see and avenge!” (2 Chron. 24:22). But the infant Jesus has come to save and to forgive. Today, the Church remembers St. Stephen, the first martyr after Christ’s ascension. His confession recalled the stiff-necked, uncircumcised hearts and ears of Judah that would not receive the Righteous One (Acts 7:51–52). But as his body was being stoned and his spirit received by the Lord Jesus, Stephen cried, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59–60), bearing witness to the One who also said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). On the second day of Christmas, our thoughts are already directed to Christ’s atoning death to save rebels like us, and to the vision Stephen saw: Heaven is open to us, Christ is reigning at God’s right hand, and no sin, death or foe can stop Him.

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Dec 26 2024


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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Dec 26 2024
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