But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into 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, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. (Acts 7:55-60, NRSV)
Stephen gives a beautiful understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures and how Jesus is the messiah promised by God.
He lays it out and those gathered can’t stand to hear it because it goes against what they were taught and believed. So they rushed him and dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.
In this scene, we have Stephen taking after our Lord and asking God not to hold the sin of those killing him against them, and we see Saul, who will become Paul and the greatest witness to Jesus in the Greek world.
I wonder how many of us would have stuck to our faith and beliefs if we faced what Stephen did?
Would we be martyred?