#7: The Stoning of Stephen

Acts 7:54-60

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. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 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.
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.

Stephen is often seen as the first Christian martyr. He preaches the Gospel, refuses to keep quiet, is put on trial and condemned to death. What a death to be stoned.
Suddenly at the end of the tragic Stephen story we meet for the very first time the one who will end up being the central character in acts. He will become Paul the Apostle but here he is Saul the Persecutor.