Forgiveness shows unconditional love and that Jesus is real
Luke wrote an historical narrative for Theophilus about the birth of the church and the new ministry of the Holy Spirit. Stephen was taken outside of the Sanhedrin to be stoned to death because of his statement that he saw Jesus at the right hand of God, which is the position of prestige and power. It is implied that he was stoned for blasphemy because they did not view Jesus as having the anointing that Stephen's vision showed. As he was being brutally killed, he called out to Jesus to receive him into His kingdom and to forgive the Sanhedrin for what they were doing, reminiscent of what Jesus did for His persecutors.
Jesus promised us difficult trials. He said that even our own families would argue and divide over who He was. Some Christians would not only be ostracized, but be put to death/martyred for His name. He said that we would be blessed because of persecution.
It is our duty and love obligation to forgive those that persecute and do wrong to us. Most of us will not be imprisoned, tortured, or executed for Jesus. But even if we are, we are to forgive, just as Jesus forgave us. Forgiveness isn't about them or what they did. Forgiveness is about us and our heart condition. This demonstrates unconditional love. That is how the world will know that Jesus is real.
Created 4 months ago