474-475 :Stephen,The First Martyr :YEAR 0036
The apostles chose seven men to help them with their daily affairs,
and among these was Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.
He did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Some members of the synagogue disputed with him,
but they were not able to stand up to his wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
So they got some men to say, "'We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God."
And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes,
and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council.
They set up false witnesses who said "This man never ceases speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the law.
"We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the customs whice Moses gave us."
And all those who sat in the council looked at him,
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?'
STEPHEN MAKES HIS DEFENCE
Stephen said, "Men, brothers and fathers', listen.
The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands,
for as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
What house will you build me?' says the Lord. 'Or what is the place of my rest? Has not my hand made all these things?'
"You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart
and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit.
As your fathers did so do you.
Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute?
And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One; whom you have just now betrayed and murdered-you who received the law from the angels but have not kept it!"
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart and ground their teeth at him.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, lookd steadily up into heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
He said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped up their ears, and ran upon him all at once.
They threw him out of the city and stoned him.
And the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul.
As they stoned Stephen, he called upon God, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
He kneeled down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not count this sin against them."
And when he had said this. he fell asleep .
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