And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59, 60
Stephen, a man loved by God, and one who was laboring to win souls to Christ, lost his life because he bore a triumphant testimony of the crucified and risen Saviour. . . . The hatred which the enemies of truth had shown for the Son of God, they revealed in their hatred for His followers. They could not bear to hear of the One whom they had crucified, and that Stephen should bear so bold a testimony filled them with rage. . . .
In the light which they saw in the face of Stephen, the men in authority had evidence from God. But they despised the evidence. O that they would heed! O that they would repent! But they would not.
When Stephen was called upon to suffer for Christ’s sake, he did not waver. He read his fate in the cruel faces of his persecutors, and he did not hesitate to give to them the last message which he was to bear to men. He looked up and said, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” All heaven was interested in this case. Jesus, rising from the throne of His Father, was leaning over, looking upon the face of His servant, and imparting to his countenance the beams of His own glory, and men were astonished as they saw Stephen’s face lighted up as if it had been the face of an angel. The glory of God shone upon him, and while he was beholding the face of his Lord, the enemies of Christ stoned him to death. Would we not think that a hard death to die? But the fear of death was gone, and his last breath was spent in petitioning the Lord to forgive his persecutors.
Jesus has made it as easy as He possibly can for His children, and He wants us to follow in His footsteps; for if we do, we shall be partakers of Christ and His glory.