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Stephen Speaks to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest questioned Stephen. "Is what these people are saying true?" he asked.
2"Brothers and fathers, listen to me!" Stephen replied. "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham. At that time Abraham was still in Mesopotamia. He had not yet begun living in Haran. 3'Leave your country and your people,' God said. 'Go to the land I will show you.' (Genesis 12:1)
4"So Abraham left the land of Babylonia. He settled in Haran. After his father died, God sent Abraham to this land where you are now living. 5God didn't give him any property here. He didn't give him even a foot of land. But God made a promise to him and to all his family after him. He said they would possess the land. The promise was made even though at that time Abraham had no child.
6"Here is what God said to him. 'Your family after you will be strangers in a country that is not their own. They will be slaves and will be treated badly for 400 years. 7But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves,' God said. 'After that, they will leave that country and worship me here.' (Genesis 15:13,14)
8"Then God made a covenant with Abraham. God told him that circumcision would show who the members of the covenant were. Abraham became Isaac's father. He circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Later, Isaac became Jacob's father. Jacob had 12 sons. They became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.
9"Jacob's sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. So they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt. But God was with him. 10He saved Joseph from all his troubles. God made Joseph wise. He helped him to become the friend of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and his whole palace.
11"There was not enough food for all Egypt and Canaan. This brought great suffering. Jacob and his sons couldn't find food. 12But Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. So he sent his sons on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was. Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family.
14"After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family. The total number of people was 75. 15Then Jacob went down to Egypt. There he and his family died. 16Some of their bodies were brought back to Shechem. They were placed in a tomb Abraham had bought. He had purchased it from Hamor's sons at Shechem for a certain amount of money.
17"In Egypt the number of our people grew and grew. It was nearly time for God to make his promise to Abraham come true. 18Another king became ruler of Egypt. He knew nothing about Joseph. 19He was very evil and dishonest with our people. He beat them down. He forced them to throw out their newborn babies to die.
20"At that time Moses was born. He was not an ordinary child. For three months he was taken care of by his family. 21Then he was placed outside. But Pharaoh's daughter took him home. She brought him up as her own son. 22Moses was taught all the knowledge of the people of Egypt. He became a powerful speaker and a man of action.
23"When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit the people of Israel. They were his own people. 24He saw one of them being treated badly by a man of Egypt. So he went to help him. He got even by killing the man. 25Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to save them. But they didn't.
26"The next day Moses saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to make peace between them. 'Men, you are both of Israel,' he said. 'Why do you want to hurt each other?'
27"But the man who was treating the other one badly pushed Moses to one side. He said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' (Exodus 2:14) 29When Moses heard this, he escaped to Midian. He lived there as a stranger. He became the father of two sons there.
30"Forty years passed. Then an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. This happened in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw the bush, he was amazed. He went over for a closer look. There he heard the Lord's voice. 32'I am the God of your fathers,' the Lord said. 'I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' (Exodus 3:6) Moses shook with fear. He didn't dare to look.
33"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals. The place you are standing on is holy ground. 34I have seen my people beaten down in Egypt. I have heard their groans. I have come down to set them free. Now come. I will send you back to Egypt.' (Exodus 3:5,7,8,10)
35"This is the same Moses the two men of Israel would not accept. They had said, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' But God himself sent Moses to rule the people of Israel and set them free. He spoke to Moses through the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36So Moses led them out of Egypt. He did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for 40 years in the desert.
37"This is the same Moses who spoke to the people of Israel. 'God will send you a prophet,' he said. 'He will be like me. He will come from your own people.' (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38Moses was with the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. Moses was with our people of long ago. He received living words to pass on to us.
39"But our people refused to obey Moses. They would not accept him. In their hearts, they wished they were back in Egypt. 40They told Aaron, 'Make us a god who will lead us. This fellow Moses led us out of Egypt. But we don't know what has happened to him!' (Exodus 32:1) 41That was the time they made a statue to be their god. It looked like a calf. They brought sacrifices to it. They were glad because of what they had made with their own hands. 42But God turned away from them. He left them to worship the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets. There it says, " 'People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
for 40 years in the desert?
43You lifted up the place where Molech was worshiped.
You lifted up the star of your god Rephan.
You made statues of them to worship.
So I will send you away from your country.' (Amos 5:25-27)
God sent them to Babylon and even farther.
44"Long ago our people had with them in the desert the holy tent where the tablets of the covenant were kept. Moses had made the holy tent as God had commanded him. It was made like the pattern he had seen. 45Our people received the tent from God. They brought it with them when they took the land of Canaan. God drove out the nations that were in their way. At that time Joshua was Israel's leader.
"The tent remained in the land until David's time. 46David was blessed by God. So David asked if he could build a house for the God of Jacob. 47Instead, it was Solomon who built it for him.
48"But the Most High God does not live in houses made by human hands. As God says through the prophet,
49" 'Heaven is my throne.
The earth is under my control.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.
Where will my resting place be?
50Didn't my hand make all these things?' (Isaiah 66:1,2)
51"You people! You won't obey! You are stubborn! You won't listen! You are just like your people of long ago! You always oppose the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your people didn't try to hurt? They even killed those who told about the coming of the Blameless One. And now you have handed him over to his enemies. You have murdered him. 53The law you received was brought by angels. But you haven't obeyed it."
Stephen Is Killed
54When the Sanhedrin heard this, they became very angry. They ground their teeth at Stephen. 55But he was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked up to heaven and saw God's glory. He saw Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56"Look!" he said. "I see heaven open. The Son of Man is standing at God's right hand."
57When the Sanhedrin heard this, they covered their ears. They yelled at the top of their voices. They all rushed at him. 58They dragged him out of the city. They began to throw stones at him to kill him. The witnesses took off their coats. They placed them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While the members of the Sanhedrin were throwing stones at Stephen, he prayed. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," he said. 60Then he fell on his knees. He cried out, "Lord! Don't hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he died.
Stephen’s Sermon
1“Are these things true?” the high priest asked.
2“Brothers and fathers,” he replied, “listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,#Gn 11:31; 15:7; Ps 29:3; Ac 22:1; 1Co 2:8 3and said to him: Leave your country and relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.#7:3Gn 12:1#Gn 12:1
4“Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this land in which you are now living.#Gn 11:31; 12:4-5 5He didn’t give him an inheritance in it — not even a foot of ground — but he promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him,#Gn 12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 17:8; Gl 3:16; Heb 8:8-9 even though he was childless. 6God spoke in this way: His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and they would enslave and oppress them for four hundred years. 7I will judge the nation that they will serve as slaves, God said. After this, they will come out and worship me in this place.#7:6-7Gn 15:13-14#Gn 15:13-14; Ex 3:12; 12:40 8And so he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. After this, he fathered Isaac and circumcised#Gn 17:9-11; 21:2-4 him on the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.#Gn 25:26; 29:31; 30:5; 35:23
The Patriarchs in Egypt
9“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him#Gn 37:11,28; 39:2,21; 45:4; Ps 105:17 10and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole household.#Gn 41:37-43; 42:6; Ps 105:21 11Now a famine and great suffering came over all of Egypt and Canaan,#Gn 41:54; 42:5 and our ancestors could find no food. 12When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there the first time. 13The second time, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14Joseph invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five people in all,#Gn 45:1-4,9-10,16,27; 46:26-27; Ex 1:5; Dt 10:22 15and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our ancestors died there,#Gn 46:5; 49:33; Ex 1:6 16were carried back to Shechem, and were placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.#Gn 23:16; 33:19; 50:13; Ex 13:19; Jos 24:32
Moses, a Rejected Savior
17“As the time was approaching to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt#Gn 15:13; Ex 1:7; Ps 105:24 18until a different king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt.#7:18 Other mss omit over Egypt 19He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our ancestors by making them abandon their infants outside so that they wouldn’t survive.#Ex 1:8-10,22; Ps 105:25 20At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful in God’s sight. He was cared for in his father’s home for three months. 21When he was put outside, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and raised him as her own son.#Ex 2:2-10; Heb 11:23 22So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his speech and actions.#1Kg 4:30; Is 19:11; Lk 24:19
23“When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24When he saw one of them being mistreated, he came to his rescue and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian. 25He assumed his people would understand that God would give them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other? ’ #Ex 2:11-14; Heb 11:24-26
27“But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying: Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?#7:27-28Ex 2:14#Ex 2:14; Lk 12:14; Ac 7:35
29“When he heard this, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.#Ex 2:15,22; 18:3-4 30After forty years had passed, an angel#7:30 Other mss add of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he was approaching to look at it, the voice of the Lord came: 32I am the God of your ancestors — the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.#7:32Ex 3:6,15#Ex 3:6; Mt 22:32; Mk 12:26; Lk 20:37 Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look.
33“The Lord said to him: Take off the sandals from your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.#7:33-34Ex 3:5,7-8,10#Ex 3:5,7-8,10
35“This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?#7:35Ex 2:14  — this one God sent as a ruler and a deliverer through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.#Ex 14:19; Nm 20:16 36This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt,#Ex 12:41; 33:1; Heb 8:9 at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.#Ex 14:21; 16:35; Nm 14:33; Ps 95:10; Ac 13:18
Israel’s Rebellion against God
37“This is the Moses who said to the Israelites: God#7:37 Other mss read The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers and sisters.#7:37Dt 18:15#Dt 18:15; Ac 3:22 38He is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors.#Ex 19:17; Is 63:9; Ac 7:53 He received living oracles to give to us.#Dt 5:27; 32:47; Jn 1:17; Rm 3:2; Heb 4:12; 5:12; 1Pt 4:11 39Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him. Instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.#Ex 16:3; Nm 11:4; 14:3-4; Ezk 20:8,24 40They told Aaron: Make us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him.#7:40Ex 32:1,23#Ex 32:1,23 41They even made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and were celebrating what their hands had made.#Dt 9:16; Ps 106:19-20; Rv 9:20 42God turned away#Jos 24:20; Is 63:10 and gave them up to worship#Dt 4:19; 2Kg 21:3; Jr 19:13; Zph 1:5 the stars of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
House of Israel, did you bring me offerings and sacrifices
for forty years in the wilderness?
43 You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship.
So I will send you into exile beyond Babylon. # 7:42-43 Am 5:25-27 # 1Kg 11:7; Am 5:25-27; Ac 7:36
God’s Real Tabernacle
44“Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.#Ex 25:8-9,40; 38:21; Heb 8:5 45Our ancestors in turn received it and with Joshua brought it in when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before them,#Jos 3:14; 18:1; 23:9; 24:18; Ps 44:2 until the days of David. 46He found favor in God’s sight and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God#7:46 Other mss read house of Jacob.#2Sm 7:1,8; 1Ch 22:7; Ps 89:19; 132:5 47It was Solomon, rather, who built him a house,#1Kg 6:1-2; 8:17-20; 2Ch 3:1 48but the Most High does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands, as the prophet says:#1Kg 8:27; 2Ch 2:6
49 Heaven is my throne,
and the earth my footstool.
What sort of house will you build for me?
says the Lord,
or what will be my resting place?
50 Did not my hand make all these things? # 7:49-50 Is 66:1-2 # Is 66:1-2; Mt 5:34-35
Resisting the Holy Spirit
51“You stiff-necked#Ex 32:9; Dt 10:16; Heb 3:13 people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!#Lv 26:41; Jr 4:4; 6:10; 9:26 You are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your ancestors did, you do also. 52Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?#2Ch 36:16; Mt 5:12; 21:35; 23:31,37; 1Th 2:15 They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers#Ac 3:14; 5:28 you have now become. 53You received the law under the direction of angels#Ac 7:38; Gl 3:19; Heb 2:2 and yet have not kept it.”
The First Christian Martyr
54When they heard these things, they were enraged#7:54 Or were cut to the quick and gnashed their teeth at him. 55Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.#Jn 12:41; Ac 6:5 56He said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” #Mt 3:16; Jn 1:51
57They yelled at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. 58They dragged him out of the city and began to stone#Lv 24:14-16; Dt 13:9; Heb 13:12 him. And the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.#Ac 8:1; 22:20 59While they were stoning Stephen, he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” #Ps 31:5; Lk 23:46; Ac 9:14 60He knelt down and cried out with a loud voice,#Mt 5:44; Lk 22:41; 23:34; Ac 9:40 “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And after saying this, he died.#7:60 Lit he fell asleep#Jn 11:11; 1Co 11:30; 1Th 4:13-15