Lesson 3, Topic 2
The Arrest and Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 6:8-15, 7:1-60)
The Arrest and Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 6: 8-15, Acts 7: 1-60)
- Stephen was a Jew of Greek descent.
- He was one of the seven credible deacons, selected to distribute food and other materials in the early church.
- He was zealous for the work of God.
- He was full of the Holy Spirit, who gave him wisdom and understanding, to successfully argue with the opponents of the church.
- He was an evangelist and a missionary in Jerusalem.
- His undiluted truth and message of the word of God, challenged and exposed the empty contradictions, being propagated by all kinds of philosophical movements of his day.
- The success of Stephen got him into trouble with the enemies of the church.
- Hence, they made false accusations against him saying that he spoke against Moses and God.
- Stephen was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin.
- When asked by the high priest if the charges were true, the Holy Spirit gave Stephen wisdom to answer all the charges.
- Stephen indicted the Jews of always resisting the Holy Spirit, calling them disobedient people, whose hearts were bent on evil, and whose ears would not hear the word of God. Stephen said they are uncircumcised in heart and ears.
- He accused them of killing those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One, and not obeying the laws they received, through angels.
- When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.
- 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.
- At this point they were disgusted at Stephen, and they all rushed him, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.
- 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.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.