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Top: Jewish Murders of Christians: Saint Stephen The First Martyr

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STEPHEN (Gr. Stephanos, crown). top of page One of the seven appointed to look after the daily distribution to the poor in the early church (Acts 6:1-6). He performed great wonders and signs, taught in the synagogue, and there debated with Jews of the Dispersion. Acts 7 records Stephen's remarkable apologia before the council. Stephen's exclamation at the close of his speech is particularly important to a proper understanding of it: "Look . . . I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (7:56). This is the only occurrence of the title "Son of Man" in the NT on the lips of anyone other than Jesus himself and reveals Stephen's messianic understanding of the term. Such radical thinking was too much for the listening Sanhedrin. Stephen was stoned to death. top of page

Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Bible NIV

Murder of Stephen, Acts Chapter 7 top of page
51"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."
54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But 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. 56"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.81And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. top of page

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