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Stephen was one of the first deacons in the early church who was described as a “man full of God’s grace and power” (Acts 6:1-8). Like Jesus, Stephen was accused of blasphemy and brought before the Sanhedrin. When the high priest asked Stephen if the charges made against him were true, Stephen gave a long speech demonstrating through Old Testament history that the Jews had repeatedly rejected God’s message and his prophets. He ended his speech with the following statement which led to him being stoned to death: “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him — you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” The apostle Paul, who had not yet converted to Christianity, witnessed Stephen’s stoning and actually watched over the coats of the men who did the stoning (Acts 7:58; Acts 22:20)

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