Luke’s gospel makes it understandable that the death of Stephen will help the believer to understand that even in service for the Lord one can be killed for the truth. Today many missionaries are being killed for the gospel; some have been thrown into dungeons to suffer. Many times the question will be asked if there is a God why they are suffering those harsh persecutions.
However, remember the word of God declares that all things work together for good for those that love God and are called to complete His purpose. Clearly, in Acts 6 Stephen did not do any wrongs he was merely preaching the word, and the truth found and exposed the Sanhedrin council. Hearing the truth, the Sanhedrin became upset, angry, and bitterness moved in their hearts against Stephen. The message found them in their darkness and told them they needed to repent. Stephen saw the hate and knew what their intentions were to kill him. Stephen did not stop preaching yet he knew they sought his life. Those in darkness never want to hear about repentance instead they desire to destroy the voice of repentance.
(Arnold)They did not matter to Stephen because he was filled up with the Holy Ghost, all his intentions were was to tell the Sanhedrin about their need for a savior, he knew the consequences but kept on going to get the task done. The martyrdom shows a man who was steadfast, as they were dragging him out of the city he was looking into heaven at the face of Jesus who was at the right hand of God the father. Staring in the face of Jesus was encouraged Stephen it reminded him of Jesus’ death how Jesus came for the lost and the lost killed him; he saw the glory and mercy of Jesus.
Stephen could have become cold feet and decide that he wanted his life to be saved and denounce the gospel, but he had a made up mind and not even staring death in the face would let him run away they stoned a righteous man then piled stones upon him. Stephen depicts Christ as he was stoned he prayed for those who were doing this crime to him and asked Jesus not to punish those that are wrongfully murdering him but allow them to hear the gospel and repent so the final judgment will escape them. Although Stephen was killed, it did not stop the others from spreading the gospel. Satan thought he would be able to shut up the gospel, but it is always through persecution that the church will grow. As they were running to save their lives, they were spreading the gospel and sowing seeds of showing those they met that they needed salvation. The message must be taken to Judea and Samaria death could not stop the gospel the Sanhedrin council believed that killing Stephen would cause fear on others to stop preaching the gospel.
According to the House article reminds us that the apostle Paul did not have a peaceful life because he was beaten, in chains or imprisoned but the difference is that God was with Paul. Luke portrayed an excellent picture of suffering when he wrote about the death of Stephen. Stephen was stoned to death for the gospel, and ironically one of the onlookers named Saul (Paul) who was present would meet some persecution. After his conversion, Paul was flogged, had many imprisonments to show others coming to the faith that this gospel is not a bed of roses. There are afflictions as the psalmist states many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from all their woes. The book of Acts shows the harsh persecutions, hardships, martyrdom, even disputes not only between Christians and non- Christians but between Christians and Christians. As they were suffering and running for their lives they were spreading the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem even to Samaria and to Rome.
As opposition arose Paul and his fellow servants move from place to place. It is clear according to House that the entire book of Acts is based on suffering. The gospel spreads when Peter and John healed the lame man and then preach to those they blamed for the death of Jesus Christ. When the disciples saw how Stephen was murdered they ran from Saul, the persecutor but in running the gospel went out from the original boundaries, suffering allowed the gospel to leave Jerusalem to Samaria and fulfills the high commission set forth by Jesus. The spreading of the gospel to Damascus found the most significant persecutor of the Christians. Saul who torments Christians was going to Damascus to stop those followers whom he thinks was in Damascus. Jesus cause Saul to suffer blindness and humiliation and no doubt Paul’s ministry is seen as one with the most suffering. Although nothing can stop the gospel, there were still those who suffered loss and grief to enable the gospel to move out of its boundaries.