In the book of Acts, the Apostles went around preaching about Jesus and the Gospel was spreading like a wildfire. The 12 Apostles (formerly disciples) were very busy so they decided to appoint a group of 7 godly men to help them. A man named Stephen was one of them. The Bible says he was full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5) and full of God’s grace and power, performing amazing miracles and signs among the people (Acts 6:8). The Jewish men of the synagogue could not stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke (Acts 6:10).
Stephen spoke straight forward to a group of Jews of their rejection of Christ. It angered the crowd. They came against him and killed him.
But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, a seed was planted for the sake of the Gospel in a zealous Jewish killer of Christians who was watching nearby…his name was Saul of Tarsus.
51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.[c]
59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
8 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.