Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews because of his faith. Before he died, he tried to explain how the Jews had continued to reject him and refused to acknowledge Jesus as their savior. It was the Jews who rejected and persecuted Jesus Christ that lead him to his crucifixion on the cross and death. Jesus’ mission was to preach to the Jews but the Jews rejected him. Now, the gospel is opened to nations around the world.
The members of Sandherin who heard Stephen’s speech was furious. They rushed and dragged him out of the city and stoned him. Stephen saw the heaven open up and he saw Jesus standing at the right side of God. Before he died, he prayed for God to forgive the people. There were witnesses who laid their coats at the feet of the man called Saul, who later became the apostle Paul after his conversion on the way to Damascus.
At that time, it was illegal for the Sandherin to sentence Stephen to death. The book of Acts did not record of any of the Sandherin getting punished. Stephen was the first apostle to be martyred in the history of Christianity. His said the same final words as Jesus, that is, he asked God to forgive the people and he also asked God to welcome his spirit into heaven.
Two important things that has important impact in the history of Christianity is Saul became a cruel persecutor of those who follow the Way; and Saul’s conversion when he was on the way to Damascus during which he heard God’s voice and was struck blind. Saul, also known as Paul, was a major contributor in spreading the gospel and building churches in many places. He wrote most of the epistles in the New Testament to guide Christians on how to live their lives for God according to God’s commandments.
From the account of the stoning of Stephen, we learn that we are to love one another including our enemies. You must always forgive your enemies and ask God to forgive them. You can ask God to take revenge on your enemies but you must not take revenge on them yourself.
God has a perfect timing for his will to be carried out. He can use different persons and circumstances to carry out his will and plan. In the example of Paul, the stoning of Stephen led to his conversion which is a major point in the history of Christianity. God has a plan for each of us. He has his time for everything so you must keep on praying until you get what you request for in your prayer.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)
I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. (Ecclesiastes 3:17 KJV)
Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. (Ecclesiastes 8:6 KJV)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV)
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34 KJV)
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25 KJV)
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:13 KJV)
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 KJV)