Stephen did not fear. He opened himself up to the Holy Spirit and was inspired. He was inspired to speak the word of God complete and honest. Speaking the truth can hurt.
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.
And Saul approved of their killing him.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Stephen looked into heaven and the Lord gave him a literal vision of the splendor of God’s glory and of Jesus standing at the right hand of His throne. As Stephen died, he called upon the Lord Jesus in prayer and plead for the forgiveness to be administered to his executors. . Stephen died in the middle of a crowd filled with wickedness of supposedly respectable Jewish leaders. He was calm, clear-headed, articulate, and kind, even as the rocks were crushing his body. What really is happening is that a spark has kindle the flame. One of the persecutors of Stephen was to become a great advocate for Christ. His name was Saul.
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