Today’s reading gives an account of how Stephen was brought before the council of elders for false allegations that he blasphemed against Moses and God. He was asked before the council priests if the allegations before him were true? He then recounted to them from the time of Abraham to Moses how their forefathers resisted the law and also prosecuted the prophets .He called the Jews stiffed neck, uncircumcised in their heart , ears and always resisting the Holy Spirit. The Jews hearing what Stephen said were angry in their heart, but Stephen being filled with the Holy Spirit gazed to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand; he said ‘l see the heavens opened, and the son of man at the right hand’! They raised a great shout and dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.
A man named Saul consented to Stephen’s death and persecuted the church greatly which led to members scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Those believers who were scattered abroad still went on preaching the gospel. The gospel was spread abroad despite the prosecution, many believed the good news and were baptized in the name of Jesus both men and women alike.
As believers, there are people who try to frustrate the gospel by trying to use doctrine that does not apply to the word of God, because of the hardness of their heart. It is important we know that the truth would always set us free. We as believers need to stay focused on the truth of the Word of God and not bow to pressure.
I will declare the gospel of our Lord Jesus and spread the good news to the ends of the earth.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’[a]
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
The Stoning of Stephen
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 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. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 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.
8 And Saul approved of their killing him.
The Church Persecuted and Scattered
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Philip in Samaria
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
Simon the Sorcerer
9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
- Acts 7:50 Isaiah 66:1,2