Acts 7:59

ESV And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
NIV While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
NASB They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!'
CSB While they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! "
NLT As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
KJV And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

What does Acts 7:59 mean?

The process of stoning is more involved than simply throwing rocks. According to the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 6.1–4, the officials take the person out of the court, ask for defensive testimony, then ask the person to acknowledge his crime and that he deserves the punishment. The convict is thrown into a lower area off a cliff twice the height of a man, so that he falls face up. If he lands face down, he is flipped over; if he dies from the fall, the execution is over. If he doesn't die from the fall, a witness slams a large stone into his heart. If this doesn't kill him, the crowd throws stones on him until he is dead. So, it's likely Stephen is saying these words as they are walking him to the place of stoning, not while they are throwing rocks at him.

It's not known how long Stephen has been in Jerusalem, or if he was present at Jesus' crucifixion, but he's surely heard the stories. And so he knows that as Jesus breathed His last, He said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46). Stephen has just seen Jesus, standing at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 7:55). As painful as his circumstances are, he has full assurance that Jesus is waiting for him. He doesn't fear dying, because he knows where he's going (Matthew 10:28).

Very few of us today will see Jesus on earth, let alone see Him next to God as the skies open up. But if we trust Jesus' sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, if we willingly accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we can have the same ending as Stephen: our souls in Christ's hands where we will never be taken away (John 10:28).
What is the Gospel?
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