Stephen was a man full
of the Spirit and wisdom,
Appointed by Apostles
who laid their hands on him.
He was a man full of
God’s grace and power
doing great wonders
and miraculous signs.
Jews of the Synagogue of the Freedmen
(as it was called) were in Jerusalem and
opposed what Steven taught but could not
stand against the Spirit by whom he spoke.
Yet they convinced some men to say,
“We have heard Stephen speak words
of blasphemy against Moses and against God.”
They seized Stephen and brought
him before the Sanhedrin.
They produced false witnesses who testified,
“This fellow never stops speaking
against this holy place and the law.”
They say he’s said, “Jesus will destroy this place
and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
Before the scholars he gives a speech
of the history of the bible angering them.
Then he accuses them, “Was there ever a prophet
your fathers did not persecute?” “And now you have
betrayed and murdered him”
(Acts 7: 59-60)
While they were stoning him Stephen prayed,
“Lord Jesus receive my spirit.”
Then he fell on his knees and cried out,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
To appreciate this story we must understand what lead up to Stephen being the first martyr. The backstory can be found earlier in (Acts 3:41-47). Many Jews came to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost in AD 32 from other countries. They had seen and heard the Apostles performing miracles and eventually became baptized. They numbered 3,000 that were baptized. (It should be noted on the first Pentecost 3,000 had died which is a parallel event)
They stayed with disciples of Christ for a very long time but a rift came when the movement grew so fast as to threaten the 100% Jewish population of followers of the Apostles. They worried about the assimilation of Jews into the Greek and other gentile cultures which could destroy the purity of the lines of the 12 tribes.
© copyright Phyllis Rogers 1/20/18