This line is from Bob Dylan’s classic song, Rainy Day Woman. It certainly gets your attention. Many think this song is about smoking marijuana, although Dylan insists that’s not the case. The song relates to how Dylan felt about his critics who were figuratively trying to “stone” him no matter what he did. In fact, he told Rolling Stone magazine that he found inspiration for the song from the story of Stephen in the book of Acts.
Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, ‘We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.’ This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council. —Acts 6:8-11 NLT
Stephen went on to explain God’s plan concerning the Jews to the high council, starting from Abraham all the way through to David and onto what Jesus had accomplished on the cross. He challenged their hardness of heart and resistance to the Holy Spirit. As a result, they became angry, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.
As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” —Acts 7:59 NLT
Persecution brings you face to face with what you believe. There is no tiptoeing around the truth. Will you change your claim to appease the masses, or will you stand for what is right—even if you don’t see a benefit?
Most of us in the United States don’t spend a lot of time thinking about persecution. We believe that we are being persecuted when somebody disagrees with us on Facebook. However, the Bible gives examples of persecution in terms of jail, torture, exile, and beheadings.
If Jesus is the Lord of your life, you will be persecuted. It is not something to hide from—it is something to accept if the persecution is for the right reason. It validates our life in Christ and His life in us.
Jesus once said: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” – John 15:20 NIV
Every Christian will get “stoned” at one point or another, either literally or metaphorically. Jesus said, “If they hated Me, they are going to hate you.”
The question to be asked is, “How will you respond when stones are flying at you?”
Perhaps you are labeled as small-minded for not accepting manmade theories as law or absolute truth. Maybe you have been called intolerant and hateful for simply supporting traditional marriage. You could even find yourself, like many around the world, asked to renounce your faith or die.
Taking your stand for God and truth will require steadfastness. In the face of opposition, you must stand your ground.
Settle it in your heart and mind that you will be stoned; but when you are, commit to standing firm in your faith. As we share in this experience with Christ, our lives are transformed for His glory.
Before being stoned, Stephen had a vision of Jesus “standing” at the right hand of the Father.
“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily upward into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. And he told them, ‘Look, I see the heavens opened and Jesus the Messiah standing beside God, at his right hand!’” —Acts 7:55-56 TLB
We know that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. But when you stand for Christ, He stands for you!
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them? But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me.” —2 Timothy 4:16-17 NKJV
As you choose to remain faithful in the face of persecution, the Lord takes notice. You will receive a strength that will help you overcome the fear and threats you may encounter. With this strength, you will find yourself more resolute and passionate to stand for truth. You will view persecution the way God sees it, infusing you with the compassion to say, “May it not be charged against them!”
Everybody must get stoned.
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