False witnesses who testify against Stephen falsely
It is indeed sad to see the High Priest of the temple lacking in discernment and unable to counter the false witnesses who testify against Stephen falsely, inspite of seeing Stephen’s face as it had been the face of an angel, vs 1!
In making his defense, Stephen reminds them of their past history with regard to how God used the patriarchs like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David to build the Nation of Israel, and who went through immense testings and sufferings, so that their future generations could enter into and enjoy God’s promised inheritance!
On the other hand, those among the people who were stubborn and rebellious and who went against the laws of God, while refusing to subject themselves to God’s testings and discipline, ended up persecuting and even killing God’s prophets who spoke against their evil deeds, vs 2-50!
In the course of his narration, moved with emotion, Stephen was abruptly led to accuse the religious leaders of his day as being a stubborn lot, being uncircumcised of heart and ears, and always resisting the Holy Spirit, being just like their rebellious ancestors did, and who now eventually murdered the Righteous One, vs 51-52! He further also accused them of receiving the law given by angels, but failing to keep it themselves, vs 53!
This was too much for them to take and they ended up stoning him to death, even while he beheld the glory of the Lord, and Jesus Himself standing up at the right hand of the Father, vs 54-58!
Nevertheless, he breathed his last only after committing his spirit into the Lord’s hand and asking God not to hold that sin against them, vs 59,60.
This was the lifestyle of one about whom it was said, ‘He was a man of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit’, vs 55, Acts 6:5,8.
He was, therefore, bold enough to confront hypocrisy at the leadership level, bold enough to bear the consequences of the same and humble enough to commit his spirit into the hands of One who righteously judges all men, as well as wholehearted enough to forgive His murderers immediately, though in much pain!
We will find ourselves following in His footsteps, if we too are full of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit for such a time as this.
Let him who has an ear, hear!