In Acts 7:6-50: “As Stephen recounts how God has worked with the Jews in spite of their faltering fidelity, his speech up to this point sounds like any good synagogue sermon …he narrates the history of God’s work of salvation among the Jewish people in the midst of their repeated struggle with unfaithfulness and idolatry” (TVB).
“However … According to Stephen, those who reject Jesus are following the same path as the people who rejected Moses to follow idols. Such a strong message strikes a nerve, and Stephen becomes the first martyr of the church because of it” (TVB).
Stephen: 51 You stubborn, stiff-necked people! Sure, you are physically Jews, but you are no different from outsiders in your hearts and ears! You are just like your ancestors, constantly fighting against the Holy Spirit.
52 Didn’t your ancestors persecute the prophets? First, they killed those prophets who predicted the coming of the Just One; and now, you have betrayed and murdered the Just One Himself!
53 Yes, you received the law as given by heavenly messengers, but you haven’t kept the law which you received.
54 Upon hearing this, his audience could contain themselves no longer. They boiled in fury at Stephen; they clenched their jaws and ground their teeth.
55 But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. Gazing upward into heaven, he saw something they couldn’t see: the glory of God, and Jesus standing at His right hand.
Stephen: 56 Look, I see the heavens opening! I see the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!
57 At this, they covered their ears and started shouting. The whole crowd rushed at Stephen, converged on him, 58 dragged him out of the city, and stoned him.
They laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul, 59 while they were pelting Stephen with rocks.
Stephen (as rocks fell upon him): Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 Then he knelt in prayer, shouting at the top of his lungs,
Stephen: Lord, do not hold this evil against them!
Those were his final words; then he fell asleep in death (Acts 7:51-60, TVB).
The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.