Tuesday, April 5

Faith Stories: The Martyrdom of Stephen

Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. But some men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. Yet they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

Then they secretly instigated some men to say, "We have heard this man speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God." They incited the people, the elders, and the experts in the law; then they approached Stephen, seized him, and brought him before the council. They brought forward false witnesses who said, "This man does not stop saying things against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.

All who were sitting in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face was like the face of an angel. Then the high priest said, "Are these things true?"

So he replied, "Brothers and fathers, listen to me....You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it."*

When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him.

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look!" he said. "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he died.

*Read all of Stephen's response here.

Scripture quoted from Act: 6: 8-15; 7: 1-2, 51-60 (NET).

The (NET) Bible is available as a free download at http://www.bible.org.

Have you posted a story of the outworking of someone's faith? Or perhaps you'd like to recommend a post (or posts) by someone else that fits in the faith stories category. Let me know by email or in the comments.

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