Summary: Sometimes speaking the truth will not be accepted, but many times we are called to Stand Up for God's Truth and don't understand how it will be used for God's Glory.
Grace Under Fire
The Stoning of Stephen
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
1. Sometimes the Truth hurts, its not going to tickle your ears.
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.
The precise phrase gnashing of teeth is found in several places in the Bible and is used exclusively in reference to the final judgment of sinners, where it is combined with either weeping or wailing. The Greek phrase for “gnashing of teeth” literally means “grinding one’s teeth together.”
Surely, part of what the gnashing of teeth communicates is pain, especially when the gnashing is combined with weeping. When a person hits his thumb with a hammer, he will commonly squeeze his eyes closed and grind his teeth together hard. The weeping and gnashing of teeth in Scripture, however, is much more dreadful, partly because it lasts for eternity.
Gnashing one’s teeth shows up elsewhere in Scripture in contexts other than feeling pain. In Acts 7:54 the gnashing of teeth is done in anger because of what Stephen had said to the Jewish Council: “They were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.” Psalm 37:12 says, “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them” (see also Psalm 35:16; 112:10; and Lamentations 2:16). In these passages, wicked persons gnash their teeth at righteous persons as the wicked plot against them or disapprove of them. Apparently, gnashing teeth was a sign of great disrespect and anger.
Jesus’ first reference to weeping and gnashing of teeth comes in Matthew 8:12 where He compares the kingdom of heaven to a feast where “many” come from all parts of the world to “recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The others, however, are thrown into “outer darkness” where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So you get the picture…. This gnashing of their teeth, they were very angry with Stephen, not because he told a lie, in fact, these religious leaders would have known these scriptures even better than Stephen who just outlined their forefathers history in his sermon… They were aware of what Stephen just spoke to them, they understood it was the truth… they just didn’t like it. That truth put them in a bad light, it was condemning their position, their attitude towards Jesus.
Our Prophets of old, and those who are called into prophetic ministry today, those who are called to Preach the Truth, God’s Word, are not going to be the most popular people in town, because if they are preaching the Truth of God’s Word, it surely won’t go along with what the World is trying to sell you.
Have you figured out that the Christian life and the life of those who follow the World’s way of living are in direct opposition to one another?
Have you ever left a Sunday service gnashing your teeth over what you just heard the preacher say?
The World teaches that your happiness will be found in your success…. How much stuff you can get…. How much money you can attain…. What kind of car you drive… How nice a home you live in…. the kind of clothes you wear… and on and on it goes… materialism is god.
Jesus came and taught something completely different, He teaches us to live simple lives, that the Kingdom of God comes first, that we are to rely on Him, Trust Him, not in what we have or what we own in this world.