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It is the first century a sunny day in Jerusalem, the “City of Peace” as its name implies, and you can hear the murmurs of ill contempt spreading through the fringes of the crowd as Stephen proclaims his message. Beginning with Abraham, describing his faith in Jehovah God to provide, guide, and protect, he walks through the patriarchs of the Old Testament explaining the same faith. Stephen shows them Moses and how he trusted the Lord for the deliverance of Israel from the tyrannical reign of the Pharaoh. He told them Moses prophesied the coming of a prophet like him that would deliver them all, a Messiah. Stephen preached that Israel has turned away from all of the prophets that God has sent. They have turned to their own understandings and false gods for security and strength, and rejected the one true God and his prophets. He was accused of blasphemy, of disgracing the tabernacle of God. Stephen sought to show them that they missed the point entirely, God was so much bigger than a tabernacle, Heaven was His throne and He desired to reside in their hearts. The way to their hearts was through Jesus, the One they killed. When Stephen spoke of Jesus the people began to gnash their teeth and plug their ears to what he was saying. The mention of Jesus stirred a violent response from the crowd, but from heaven a vision came to Stephen of the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. Praise and worship was the only response Stephen could give to what he was seeing from heaven. With the outrage and swiftness of a demonic response Stephen is grabbed and dragged out of town thrown to the ground by the angry crowd.

Outside of the city as the crowd grows ready to stone the preacher, one man stands guard over the coats, he does not pick up a rock, nor does he stop the process. His silence is a blessing on the proceeding. Paul watches as the rocks are hurled at Stephen, his only crime preaching Christ to a lost and dying world. Stephen spends his last breathe praying to God for mercy on the ones guilty of his death. Paul witnesses the unselfish act of a man giving his life that someone might know Christ, a man preaching nothing more than the message of Christ.

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