Stephen's martyrdom - Saul of Tarsus attending
Stephen’s martyrdom

I have not quoted Stephen’s speech – it is simply too long. How extraordinary that one of the most protracted individual oral addresses in the New Testament is not from an apostle but a deacon. He was one of seven appointed “to serve at tables” so that the apostles could concentrate on prayer and evangelism (Acts6:2). But then God is no respecter of persons or office and may choose to utilize mere “laypersons” to fulfil His purposes when He so chooses.  

Again, it is obvious from the contents of Stephen’s speech that he is addressing Jews. They, he said, were doing just as their fathers did: “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” (Acts7:52-53). This thoroughly incensed his audience as a result of which Stephen underwent a glorious death and is rightly revered as a Martyr for Christ. And at the time Stephen’s martyrdom was heartily approved of by a certain Saul of Tarsus (8:1).

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