Stephen's Martyrdom (7:54—8:3)

Justin Martyr, beheaded for the faith in A.D. 165 said, "The more we are persecuted, the more do others in ever increasing numbers embrace the faith and become worshippers of God through the name of Jesus" (Dialogue with Trypho 110). Contrast the impact of modern-day martyrs for other causes. Who remembers what Che Guevara stood for? Luke's account of Stephen's death helps us understand the effect dying for the gospel has, and in so doing challenges us to accept its truth claims.

Stephen's stoning climaxes his witness and introduces an important turning point in the witness of the Hellenistic Jewish Christians of Jerusalem. The intensity and scope of persecution and the extent of witness both take quantum leaps.

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