Standing Firm


In the opening to the film Braveheart, Scotsman Robert the Bruce introduces the story of William Wallace, narrating his version of the famed Scottish warrior. He claims that English historians may dispute his story, but he challenges any opposition by saying, “History is written by those who have hanged heroes.”

God’s story of redemption includes many prophets who were killed for proclaiming the truth of the gospel, prophets who include his own son, Jesus. In this passage, a man named Stephen is soon to lose his life for proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ—our one true hero who brings us eternal life. But despite his imminent fate, Stephen stood firm in his beliefs.

  • In the face of great opposition, are you ready to stand firm in your beliefs?


44 “Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45 Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, 46 who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,

49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Stephen addressed the Jewish high priests using the term “our fathers” throughout the passage. What is the significance of using these words in delivering his final point to them?
  2. In verse 50, Stephen delivered a harsh insult to the high priests. What is the significance of him saying they are “uncircumcised in heart and ears”?
  3. Following a lengthy description of the Jewish nation’s failure to follow God’s laws over time, Stephen concluded that they had sealed an even greater fate by betraying and murdering the one prophet whom God had promised them all along. But his points were not only meant for the Jewish high priests of his time. How are Stephen’s words also applicable to us today?
  4. How many risks do we take to speak out in the name of Christ? Are we really willing to live for him?


The Braveheart quote is a backhanded slap to those who would dispute the purity of William Wallace’s intentions for a free Scotland. Here, we see Stephen delivering a similar backhanded slap to the Jewish high priests for not seeing what God had revealed to them in plain sight during the recent events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Stephen was known among the apostles for being full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. It’s possible during the words he delivered in this passage that he knew they may be his last, yet he stood firm in his accusations. May Stephen’s words be a continual challenge to rely boldly on the power of the Holy Spirit when we are called to give account.

  • Take a few moments with God to ask him to instill in you the strength of the Holy Spirit, trusting that as he was with Stephen, so he also is with you.