Jesus receives His first martyr, and the gospel is scattered outwards Introduction: Martyrdom. How the early church thought about it. Martyrs under Mary in the 16th century (280 in 5 years burnt at stake). Bonhoeffer. Recent martyrs under IS terror. Whose interpretation is right? Who has the right key? This is a live question! How can Christianity be new and old at the same time? Since it views OT as 'promise', awaiting fulfilment. So we are old in that we utterly hold to the OT. But we are new in that we believe their fulfilment happened in a new act in history; the person and work of Jesus. Basic issue is who is obeying God when it comes to law, temple, and promise. Hence Stephen's speech. Important speech in Acts: it's the longest by far, and appears at the turning point before the church is plunged out of Jerusalem. Longest defence of Christianity in the NT. Yet he isn't on the defensive; he tells the Bible story and lets that accuse them. v2-16 period of the patriarchs ending with deaths of Jacob & Joseph. And then v17-3 Moses, law, Exodus, wilderness. And then v44-50 tabernacle and temple. 'The major theme is that Israel has rejected its messengers (as it did Moses) and its proper worship (as it did with the tabernacle and temple).' The system becomes the god. Also interesting how often Biblical theological arguments (i.e. along the storyline) are used in the NT to counter error. Stephen here is a great example; this whole chapter is a Biblical theology. Galatians too, where the law is placed within the storyline. Many of Jesus' answers, such as about the resurrection (God is the God of the living, not the dead - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc) or marriage (in the beginning, God created them male and female etc). 1. The charge against Stephen is blasphemy (the same as it was against Jesus) v8-15 V8; Stephen, full of grace and power. Doing signs and wonders (nb he's not an apostle, thus the argument that signs and wonders were simply to authenticate the apostles' ministry is wrong; signs and wonders authenticate the gospel). Stephen means 'crown'. 6.3 full of the Spirit and wisdom. 6.5 full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Full of means 'under the control of.' Two charges: 1. He speaks against Moses by speaking against his law v11-13, and that Jesus will change the customs of Moses v14. 2. He speaks against God, by speaking against the temple v11,13. He said Jesus will destroy the temple v14. v11 a hint of the idolatry theology 'Moses and God' servant not above master v15 Stephen's face shone like an angel. Like Moses at Sinai Exodus 34.29 . The point is, God's favour/approval/endorsement lies with Stephen's interpretation, like Moses'. 2. Wrong worship led Israel to reject God's messengers v1-43 v16 Stephen's point is that burial happened in the promised land, an act of faith that God would keep His Word. As for blasphemy against Moses, God's deliverers are consistently rejected by Israel. v9. jealous. Moses v20 yet rejected v25-26. Sanhedrin rejected the righteous one v52. v42 worship of the stars another allusion to wrong worship/idolatry. v 42-43 the wilderness wanderings; sacrifices were not offered to YHWH but to others. They are even named. Moloch and Rephan (Hebrew text has Sikkuth and Kiyyin). Mesopotamian gods of the sky. Saturn/Moloch is the sky/sun deity. Rephan could be Egyptian god Repa, sun god. At Amos' time of writing he was rebuking Israel for earlier unfaithfulness that would be repeated again. The point is they were not worshiping from the heart, since they also took sacrifices to other gods. 'You are not only to bring me sacrifices but also worship.' so by v43, Stephen has shown that he his respectful of the law as living oracles. And shown Israel was disobedient to it as early on as the Exodus. vv44-50 are the second topic, the tabernacle/temple. 3. Wrong worship led Israel to temple-olatry, and the crucifixion of Jesus v44-53 As for blasphemy against God and the temple, Israel has made an idol of the temple. God cannot be localised to a building v48-50. Israel made the calf v41 and then built the temple v47. Tabernacle and temple have become human attempts to contain God. v48-50 the point is not that it was wrong to build the temple (since they were told to), but they should not have regarded it as God's literal home. They should have seen it for what it was - a symbol structure God gave them to enable worship of Him. Rather than an idol. God is far bigger! And in the work of Christ has exceeded it. v51 you always resist the Holy Spirit 4. The mob lynch Stephen, and King Jesus receives His first martyr v54-8.2 v55 full of the Holy Spirit; a repeated filling since he was filled in chapter 4 (presumably), and we're told in chapter 6 too. When he mentions Jesus standing, they finally lynch him. They see this as clear blasphemy and a challenge to God's uniqueness. The difference at the end of the day is all about Jesus. This is not even a sham justice court like it was with Jesus, no formal verdict etc. This is a mob lynching. V2 godly men greatly mourned Stephen. Mourning the godly is right and proper. 'Stephen becomes an exemplary witness who bears his cross on behalf of Jesus.' 'Son of Man' i.e., the one given all authority to judge, the one who sits on God's throne. Stephen sees an enthroned, glorified, judging Jesus. He is alive and at work at the Father's side. Jesus is standing to receive and endorse Stephen's testimony. He is an advocate for Stephen, endorsing what He is saying. Receiving His first martyr. Well done, good and faithful servant. Heaven stands opposed to the Jewish reaction to Stephen. Stephen and Jesus, parallels: trial-like setting, suffer false witnesses, mention temple's destruction, speak of the temple made with hands, charged with blasphemy, asked by the high priest to speak, commit their spirits to God, ask God to forgive those who kill them. One difference in death between Stephen and Jesus; Jesus prays to His Father but Stephen prays to Lord Jesus. Our high priest who hears our prayers. Jesus stands to receive His first martyr. 8.2 they are scattered. The next concentric circle; Samaria. But, interestingly, not the apostles. God will use others to spread His gospel. An irony here: through their idolatry of the temple, true worship of God is going to be scattered across the earth. cf Genesis 1, multiply and fill the earth. [that word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them abideth. The Spirit and the gift are ours, through Him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill. God's truth abideth still. The kingdom is forever.]
8 Στέφανος δὲ πλήρης χάριτος καὶ δυνάμεως ἐποίει τέρατα καὶ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἐν τῷ λαῷ. 9 ἀνέστησαν δέ τινες τῶν ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς τῆς λεγομένης Λιβερτίνων καὶ Κυρηναίων καὶ Ἀλεξανδρέων καὶ τῶν ἀπὸ Κιλικίας καὶ Ἀσίας συζητοῦντες τῷ Στεφάνῳ, 10 καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυον ἀντιστῆναι τῇ σοφίᾳ καὶ τῷ πνεύματι ᾧ ἐλάλει. 11 τότε ὑπέβαλον ἄνδρας λέγοντας ὅτι ἀκηκόαμεν αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ῥήματα βλάσφημα εἰς Μωϋσῆν καὶ τὸν θεόν. 12 συνεκίνησάν τε τὸν λαὸν καὶ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους καὶ τοὺς γραμματεῖς καὶ ἐπιστάντες συνήρπασαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἤγαγον εἰς τὸ συνέδριον, 13 ἔστησάν τε μάρτυρας ψευδεῖς λέγοντας• ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος οὐ παύεται λαλῶν ῥήματα κατὰ τοῦ τόπου τοῦ ἁγίου [τούτου] καὶ τοῦ νόμου• 14 ἀκηκόαμεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος οὗτος καταλύσει τὸν τόπον τοῦτον καὶ ἀλλάξει τὰ ἔθη ἃ παρέδωκεν ἡμῖν Μωϋσῆς. 15 καὶ ἀτενίσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ καθεζόμενοι ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ εἶδον τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ πρόσωπον ἀγγέλου. 7 1 Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ ἀρχιερεύς• εἰ ταῦτα οὕτως ἔχει; 2 ὁ δὲ ἔφη• Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ καὶ πατέρες, ἀκούσατε. Ὁ θεὸς τῆς δόξης ὤφθη τῷ πατρὶ ἡμῶν Ἀβραὰμ ὄντι ἐν τῇ Μεσοποταμίᾳ πρὶν ἢ κατοικῆσαι αὐτὸν ἐν Χαρρὰν 3 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν• ἔξελθε ἐκ τῆς γῆς σου καὶ [ἐκ] τῆς συγγενείας σου, καὶ δεῦρο εἰς τὴν γῆν ἣν ἄν σοι δείξω. 4 τότε ἐξελθὼν ἐκ γῆς Χαλδαίων κατῴκησεν ἐν Χαρράν. κἀκεῖθεν μετὰ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ μετῴκισεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν γῆν ταύτην εἰς ἣν ὑμεῖς νῦν κατοικεῖτε, 5 καὶ οὐκ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ κληρονομίαν ἐν αὐτῇ οὐδὲ βῆμα ποδὸς καὶ ἐπηγγείλατο δοῦναι αὐτῷ εἰς κατάσχεσιν αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ μετʼ αὐτόν , οὐκ ὄντος αὐτῷ τέκνου. 6 ἐλάλησεν δὲ οὕτως ὁ θεὸς ὅτι ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ πάροικον ἐν γῇ ἀλλοτρίᾳ καὶ δουλώσουσιν αὐτὸ καὶ κακώσουσιν ἔτη τετρακόσια• 7 καὶ τὸ ἔθνος ᾧ ἐὰν δουλεύσουσιν κρινῶ ἐγώ, ὁ θεὸς εἶπεν, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξελεύσονται καὶ λατρεύσουσίν μοι ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ. 8 καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ διαθήκην περιτομῆς• καὶ οὕτως ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰσαὰκ καὶ περιέτεμεν αὐτὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ, καὶ Ἰσαὰκ τὸν Ἰακώβ, καὶ Ἰακὼβ τοὺς δώδεκα πατριάρχας. 9 Καὶ οἱ πατριάρχαι ζηλώσαντες τὸν Ἰωσὴφ ἀπέδοντο εἰς Αἴγυπτον. καὶ ἦν ὁ θεὸς μετʼ αὐτοῦ 10 καὶ ἐξείλατο αὐτὸν ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ χάριν καὶ σοφίαν ἐναντίον Φαραὼ βασιλέως Αἰγύπτου καὶ κατέστησεν αὐτὸν ἡγούμενον ἐπʼ Αἴγυπτον καὶ [ἐφʼ] ὅλον τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ. 11 ἦλθεν δὲ λιμὸς ἐφʼ ὅλην τὴν Αἴγυπτον καὶ Χανάαν καὶ θλῖψις μεγάλη, καὶ οὐχ ηὕρισκον χορτάσματα οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν. 12 ἀκούσας δὲ Ἰακὼβ ὄντα σιτία εἰς Αἴγυπτον ἐξαπέστειλεν τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν πρῶτον. 13 καὶ ἐν τῷ δευτέρῳ ἀνεγνωρίσθη Ἰωσὴφ τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ φανερὸν ἐγένετο τῷ Φαραὼ τὸ γένος [τοῦ] Ἰωσήφ. 14 ἀποστείλας δὲ Ἰωσὴφ μετεκαλέσατο Ἰακὼβ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν συγγένειαν ἐν ψυχαῖς ἑβδομήκοντα πέντε. 15 καὶ κατέβη Ἰακὼβ εἰς Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἐτελεύτησεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν, 16 καὶ μετετέθησαν εἰς Συχὲμ καὶ ἐτέθησαν ἐν τῷ μνήματι ᾧ ὠνήσατο Ἀβραὰμ τιμῆς ἀργυρίου παρὰ τῶν υἱῶν Ἐμμὼρ ἐν Συχέμ. 17 Καθὼς δὲ ἤγγιζεν ὁ χρόνος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἧς ὡμολόγησεν ὁ θεὸς τῷ Ἀβραάμ, ηὔξησεν ὁ λαὸς καὶ ἐπληθύνθη ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ 18 ἄχρι οὗ ἀνέστη βασιλεὺς ἕτερος [ἐπʼ Αἴγυπτον] ὃς οὐκ ᾔδει τὸν Ἰωσήφ. 19 οὗτος κατασοφισάμενος τὸ γένος ἡμῶν ἐκάκωσεν τοὺς πατέρας [ἡμῶν] τοῦ ποιεῖν τὰ βρέφη ἔκθετα αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ μὴ ζῳογονεῖσθαι. 20 Ἐν ᾧ καιρῷ ἐγεννήθη Μωϋσῆς καὶ ἦν ἀστεῖος τῷ θεῷ• ὃς ἀνετράφη μῆνας τρεῖς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τοῦ πατρός, 21 ἐκτεθέντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀνείλατο αὐτὸν ἡ θυγάτηρ Φαραὼ καὶ ἀνεθρέψατο αὐτὸν ἑαυτῇ εἰς υἱόν. 22 καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη Μωϋσῆς [ἐν] πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Αἰγυπτίων, ἦν δὲ δυνατὸς ἐν λόγοις καὶ ἔργοις αὐτοῦ. 23 Ὡς δὲ ἐπληροῦτο αὐτῷ τεσσερακονταετὴς χρόνος, ἀνέβη ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ ἐπισκέψασθαι τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραήλ. 24 καὶ ἰδών τινα ἀδικούμενον ἠμύνατο καὶ ἐποίησεν ἐκδίκησιν τῷ καταπονουμένῳ πατάξας τὸν Αἰγύπτιον. 25 ἐνόμιζεν δὲ συνιέναι τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς [αὐτοῦ] ὅτι ὁ θεὸς διὰ χειρὸς αὐτοῦ δίδωσιν σωτηρίαν αὐτοῖς• οἱ δὲ οὐ συνῆκαν. 26 τῇ τε ἐπιούσῃ ἡμέρᾳ ὤφθη αὐτοῖς μαχομένοις καὶ συνήλλασσεν αὐτοὺς εἰς εἰρήνην εἰπών• ἄνδρες, ἀδελφοί ἐστε• ἱνατί ἀδικεῖτε ἀλλήλους; 27 ὁ δὲ ἀδικῶν τὸν πλησίον ἀπώσατο αὐτὸν εἰπών• τίς σε κατέστησεν ἄρχοντα καὶ δικαστὴν ἐφʼ ἡμῶν; 28 μὴ ἀνελεῖν με σὺ θέλεις ὃν τρόπον ἀνεῖλες ἐχθὲς τὸν Αἰγύπτιον; 29 ἔφυγεν δὲ Μωϋσῆς ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ καὶ ἐγένετο πάροικος ἐν γῇ Μαδιάμ, οὗ ἐγέννησεν υἱοὺς δύο. 30 Καὶ πληρωθέντων ἐτῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὤφθη αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τοῦ ὄρους Σινᾶ ἄγγελος ἐν φλογὶ πυρὸς βάτου. 31 ὁ δὲ Μωϋσῆς ἰδὼν ἐθαύμαζεν τὸ ὅραμα, προσερχομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ κατανοῆσαι ἐγένετο φωνὴ κυρίου• 32 ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων σου, ὁ θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακώβ. ἔντρομος δὲ γενόμενος Μωϋσῆς οὐκ ἐτόλμα κατανοῆσαι. 33 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος• λῦσον τὸ ὑπόδημα τῶν ποδῶν σου, ὁ γὰρ τόπος ἐφʼ ᾧ ἕστηκας γῆ ἁγία ἐστίν. 34 ἰδὼν εἶδον τὴν κάκωσιν τοῦ λαοῦ μου τοῦ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ τοῦ στεναγμοῦ αὐτῶν ἤκουσα, καὶ κατέβην ἐξελέσθαι αὐτούς• καὶ νῦν δεῦρο ἀποστείλω σε εἰς Αἴγυπτον. 35 Τοῦτον τὸν Μωϋσῆν ὃν ἠρνήσαντο εἰπόντες• τίς σε κατέστησεν ἄρχοντα καὶ δικαστήν; τοῦτον ὁ θεὸς [καὶ] ἄρχοντα καὶ λυτρωτὴν ἀπέσταλκεν σὺν χειρὶ ἀγγέλου τοῦ ὀφθέντος αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ βάτῳ. 36 οὗτος ἐξήγαγεν αὐτοὺς ποιήσας τέρατα καὶ σημεῖα ἐν γῇ Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ ἐν ἐρυθρᾷ θαλάσσῃ καὶ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἔτη τεσσεράκοντα. 37 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Μωϋσῆς ὁ εἴπας τοῖς υἱοῖς Ἰσραήλ• προφήτην ὑμῖν ἀναστήσει ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὑμῶν ὡς ἐμέ. 38 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ γενόμενος ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ μετὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου τοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ ὄρει Σινᾶ καὶ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν, ὃς ἐδέξατο λόγια ζῶντα δοῦναι ἡμῖν, 39 ᾧ οὐκ ἠθέλησαν ὑπήκοοι γενέσθαι οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν, ἀλλʼ ἀπώσαντο καὶ ἐστράφησαν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν εἰς Αἴγυπτον 40 εἰπόντες τῷ Ἀαρών• ποίησον ἡμῖν θεοὺς οἳ προπορεύσονται ἡμῶν• ὁ γὰρ Μωϋσῆς οὗτος, ὃς ἐξήγαγεν ἡμᾶς ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου, οὐκ οἴδαμεν τί ἐγένετο αὐτῷ. 41 καὶ ἐμοσχοποίησαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις καὶ ἀνήγαγον θυσίαν τῷ εἰδώλῳ καὶ εὐφραίνοντο ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν. 42 ἔστρεψεν δὲ ὁ θεὸς καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς λατρεύειν τῇ στρατιᾷ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν βίβλῳ τῶν προφητῶν• μὴ σφάγια καὶ θυσίας προσηνέγκατέ μοι ἔτη τεσσεράκοντα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, οἶκος Ἰσραήλ;
Stephen Is Seized 8 And Stephen, full of grace and z power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But a they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then b they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 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, 13 and they c set up false d witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against e this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth f will destroy this place and will g change h the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face i was like the face of an angel. Stephen’s Speech 7 1 And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 And Stephen said: j “Brothers and fathers, hear me. k The God l of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, m before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, n ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 m Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And o after his father died, p God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised q to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, r though he had no child. 6 And God spoke to this effect—that s his offspring would t be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them u four hundred years. 7 ‘But v I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out w and worship me in this place.’ 8 And x he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And y so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and z circumcised him on the eighth day, and a Isaac became the father of Jacob, and b Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9 “And the patriarchs, c jealous of Joseph, d sold him into Egypt; but e God was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his afflictions and f gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, g who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11 Now h there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. 12 i But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. 13 And j on the second visit k Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and l Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 And m Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, n seventy-five persons in all. 15 And o Jacob went down into Egypt, and p he died, he q and our fathers, 16 and r they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that s Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17 “But t as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, u the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another king v who did not know Joseph. 19 w He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, x so that they would not be kept alive. 20 y At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21 and z when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses a was instructed in b all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was c mighty in his words and deeds. 23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart d to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 e And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, f ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 At this retort g Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, h where he became the father of two sons. 30 “Now when forty years had passed, i an angel appeared to him j in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 k ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, l ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 m I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and n have heard their groaning, and o I have come down to deliver them. p And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 35 “This Moses, whom they rejected, q saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer r by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 s This man led them out, performing t wonders and signs u in Egypt and v at the Red Sea and w in the wilderness for x forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you y a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38 This is the one z who was in the congregation in the wilderness with a the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. b He received c living d oracles to give to us. 39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and e in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, f ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And g they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and h were rejoicing in i the works of their hands. 42 But j God turned away and k gave them over to worship l the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: m “‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, n during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You took up the tent of o Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’ 44 “Our fathers had p the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses q directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45 Our fathers in turn r brought it in with Joshua when they s dispossessed the nations t that God drove out before our fathers. So it was u until the days of David, 46 v who found favor in the sight of God and w asked to find a dwelling place for x the God of Jacob. 1 47 But it was y Solomon who built a house for him. 48 z Yet the Most High does not dwell a in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, 49 b “‘Heaven is my throne, c and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? 50 Did not my hand make all these things?’ 51 d “You stiff-necked people, e uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. f As your fathers did, so do you. 52 g Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of h the Righteous One, i whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law j as delivered by angels and k did not keep it.” The Stoning of Stephen 54 Now when they heard these things l they were enraged, and they m ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, n full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw o the glory of God, and Jesus standing p at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see q the heavens opened, and r the Son of Man standing p at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together 1 at him. 58 Then s they cast him out of the city and t stoned him. And u the witnesses laid down their garments v at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, w he called out, “Lord Jesus, x receive my spirit.” 60 And y falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, z “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, a he fell asleep. Saul Ravages the Church 8 1 And b Saul c approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and d they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.