Stephen’s Trial And Martyrdom

Bible Event – Jesus’ Life

St Stephen the Deacon holding a Bible.

Surrounded by the Sanhedrin rulers and multiple false witnesses, the chief priest asked Stephen, “Are these things so?” Is it true that you have made such blasphemous statements, saying that Jesus will destroy the temple and change our customs? (Acts 7:1)

In his defence, Stephen presented a lengthy and respectful account of the history of the Jewish people but then followed it up with a bold conclusion. He stated that the Sanhedrin were once again following in their predecessor’s footsteps by failing to listen to God’s message, the message that Jesus had taught and he was now helping to spread.

Stephen’s language was blunt. He said:

  • “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears!
  • You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! 
  • Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become!
  • You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it”. (Acts 7:51-53)

The Sanhedrin were “furious” and as Stephen looked towards heaven, he announced, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56)

In their rage, the Sanhedrin then “covered their ears”, “rushed at him” and “drove him out of the city” where they proceeded to stone him.

As they stoned, Stephen prayed saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” and as he fell to his knees before expiring, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60) (Acts 7:1-60)

Thought

How strong is my faith? Do I proudly rebuke those who deny God’s plan?

Reflection

Father, I abandon myself into Your hands; do with me whatever You will. Whatever You may do, I thank You. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only Your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. [Prayer of Faith]

Prayer: Most Sacred Heart Of Jesus (From Akita Prayer)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
truly present in the Holy Eucharist,
I consecrate my body and soul
to be entirely one with Your Heart

Receive this humble offering of myself.
Use me as You will for the glory of the Father
and salvation of souls.

Most Holy Mother of God,
never let me be separated from Your Divine Son.
Defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen.