51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen[a] at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered.53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage.[b]55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.[c]
59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
8 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.
Persecution Scatters the Believers
A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.2 (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.)3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
Philip Preaches in Samaria
4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.7 Many evil[d] spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed.8 So there was great joy in that city.
9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great.10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.”11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
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