Ways and Means

Read

". . . Saul was in hearty agreement in putting him to death. . . ." Acts 8:1

Reflect:

"Way," a simple noun that describes a path, process and progress on course towards a designated end. Way also serves as a metaphor for the many various ways and means of life.

“The way” is used extensively throughout scripture. In the Old Testament, two ways are set before us, (1) the way of life, or (2) the way of death. In the New Testament, Jesus contrasts the easy road to death and the demanding road to life. Jesus tells us that He is our way to God and God’s way to us. It's also significant that the primary term for followers of Jesus in the early church was "the way."

Here in the first eight verses of Acts, Chapter Eight, we have two men Saul and Stephen, each represents a way, a direction life can move. One way points down, the other way points up.

The way of Saul

The first three references of Saul in Acts reveal the way of one without Christ. First, Saul is a silent witness to the stoning of Stephen, then as they laid their garments at his feet, he was a consenting spectator. Then afterwards, Saul proceeds to participate actively in the campaign against Christians. The difficulty of changing direction becomes greater each step of the way. 

The way of Stephen

We see the secret of his courage. Beyond all the world could inflict on him, Stephen saw awaiting him the welcome of the Lord. We saw his source of confidence, he followed Christ’s example of forgiveness and found the strength to do the impossible. We see a strange calmness, he had a peace from doing the right thing, the right way, even though doing right got him killed.

However hard he tried, Saul could not forget the way Stephen had died. The sight of Stephen being stoned to death and not losing his faith or courage in God, was the strongest influence that changed the way of Saul. 

Respond:

Which way is your life headed?