I am currently preaching through Acts, and this week will be talking about Stephen -- the 1st Christian martyr. He must have been an incredible man, since Luke tells us that he was "full of faith and the Holy Spirit" and "full of grace and power." The few snippets we get of this man are powerful. His face was "like that of an angel." He was able to glimpse into heaven and see Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Wow!
Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin has to be one of the most courageous speeches ever given. He certainly tells them "how the cow ate the cabbage." We preachers are often reminded that "you can catch more flies with honey." I've always wondered about that saying. I have no desire to catch flies!
But Stephen uses no honey in his speech. He is very confrontive and to the point. And the Sanhedrin obviously feel threatened -- since they kill him.
I wish I knew a little more about the story. Luke tells us that Saul (later to become Paul) was there -- witnessing this whole event. I wonder what went through his mind as he saw "the face of an angel." As he heard Stephen speak of seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God. As he heard Stephen's dying words, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
Again, Merry Christmas to all!