More and more people believed what the apostles were teaching. They wanted to find out about Jesus. They had chosen to follow Him. They had put Him first in their lives. As this happened, though, some practical problems came up. One problem was making sure some of the widows received their fair share of food.
The apostles chose seven men to take care of the problem. This gave the apostles more time to talk to people about Jesus. All seven of these men were full of faith and the Holy Spirit. One of them was called Stephen. He was very close to God. He did his job very well and God worked miracles through him.
There were some men who tried to argue with Stephen. They could not. There was no way they could match the wisdom of God’s Spirit. These bad men found some people to lie about Stephen.
“Stephen has said bad things about Moses and God.” Before long, more and more people joined the religious leaders. They made sure Stephen was arrested.
He was brought before a court. Stephen was not even a little worried. His face shone like an angel’s. The religious leaders did not care if Stephen had never done anything wrong. They tried everything they could to get him in trouble. They brought in people who lied about Stephen. This is what they did when Jesus was on trial, too. They twisted the words he had spoken about Jesus. This was very wrong, of course.
Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit helped Stephen know what he should say and when. He answered all their questions with great wisdom. Finally he said, “You have chosen not to listen to what God wants. Didn’t your fathers try to kill the prophets? Now look at you! You have killed the Messiah. He came to save you!”
The religious leaders were furious. Stephen looked up. He saw Jesus sitting next to God the Father in heaven. He said, “Look, I see the sky opening up. There is the Son of Man! “He pointed upwards.
The crowd went crazy. They covered their ears and rushed at Stephen. They drove him out of the city. Then they threw stones at him. He fell to his knees and cried out, “Lord Jesus, take my spirit! Lord, don’t hold this against these people! “Then Stephen died. He died a hero for Jesus, a man of courage and wisdom.