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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 Speech
1The high priest said to Stephen, “Are these things true?”
2Stephen answered, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to Abraham, our ancestor, in Mesopotamia before he lived in Haran. 3God said to Abraham, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and go to the land I will show you.’ 4So Abraham left the country of Chaldea and went to live in Haran. After Abraham’s father died, God sent him to this place where you now live. 5God did not give Abraham any of this land, not even a foot of it. But God promised that he would give this land to him and his descendants, even before Abraham had a child. 6This is what God said to him: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a land they don’t own. The people there will make them slaves and will mistreat them for four hundred years. 7But I will punish the nation where they are slaves. Then your descendants will leave that land and will worship me in this place.’ 8God made an agreement with Abraham, the sign of which was circumcision. And so when Abraham had his son Isaac, Abraham circumcised him when he was eight days old. Isaac also circumcised his son Jacob, and Jacob did the same for his sons, the twelve ancestors of our people.
9“Jacob’s sons became jealous of Joseph and sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him 10and saved him from all his troubles. The king of Egypt liked Joseph and respected him because of the wisdom God gave him. The king made him governor of Egypt and put him in charge of all the people in his palace.
11“Then all the land of Egypt and Canaan became so dry that nothing would grow, and the people suffered very much. Jacob’s sons, our ancestors, could not find anything to eat. 12But when Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent his sons there. This was their first trip to Egypt. 13When they went there a second time, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and the king learned about Joseph’s family. 14Then Joseph sent messengers to invite Jacob, his father, to come to Egypt along with all his relatives (seventy-five persons altogether). 15So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and his sons died. 16Later their bodies were moved to Shechem and put in a grave there. (It was the same grave Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.)
17“The promise God made to Abraham was soon to come true, and the number of people in Egypt grew large. 18Then a new king, who did not know who Joseph was, began to rule Egypt. 19This king tricked our people and was cruel to our ancestors, forcing them to leave their babies outside to die. 20At this time Moses was born, and he was very beautiful. For three months Moses was cared for in his father’s house. 21When they put Moses outside, the king’s daughter adopted him and raised him as if he were her own son. 22The Egyptians taught Moses everything they knew, and he was a powerful man in what he said and did.
23“When Moses was about forty years old, he thought it would be good to visit his own people, the people of Israel. 24Moses saw an Egyptian mistreating one of his people, so he defended the Israelite and punished the Egyptian by killing him. 25Moses thought his own people would understand that God was using him to save them, but they did not. 26The next day when Moses saw two men of Israel fighting, he tried to make peace between them. He said, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you hurting each other?’ 27The man who was hurting the other pushed Moses away and said, ‘Who made you our ruler and judge? 28Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29When Moses heard him say this, he left Egypt and went to live in the land of Midian where he was a stranger. While Moses lived in Midian, he had two sons.
30“Forty years later an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush as he was in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw this, he was amazed and went near to look closer. Moses heard the Lord’s voice say, 32‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to shake with fear and was afraid to look. 33The Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. 34I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt. I have heard their cries and have come down to save them. And now, Moses, I am sending you back to Egypt.’
35“This Moses was the same man the two men of Israel rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ Moses is the same man God sent to be a ruler and savior, with the help of the angel that Moses saw in the burning bush. 36So Moses led the people out of Egypt. He worked miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and then in the desert for forty years. 37This is the same Moses that said to the people of Israel, ‘God will give you a prophet like me, who is one of your own people.’ 38This is the Moses who was with the gathering of the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel that spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and he was with our ancestors. He received commands from God that give life, and he gave those commands to us.
39“But our ancestors did not want to obey Moses. They rejected him and wanted to go back to Egypt. 40They said to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 41So the people made an idol that looked like a calf. Then they brought sacrifices to it and were proud of what they had made with their own hands. 42But God turned against them and did not try to stop them from worshiping the sun, moon, and stars. This is what is written in the book of the prophets: God says,
‘People of Israel, you did not bring me sacrifices and offerings
while you traveled in the desert for forty years.
43You have carried with you
the tent to worship Molech
and the idols of the star god Rephan that you made to worship.
So I will send you away beyond Babylon.’#Amos 5:25–27
44“The Holy Tent where God spoke to our ancestors was with them in the desert. God told Moses how to make this Tent, and he made it like the plan God showed him. 45Later, Joshua led our ancestors to capture the lands of the other nations. Our people went in, and God forced the other people out. When our people went into this new land, they took with them this same Tent they had received from their ancestors. They kept it until the time of David, 46who pleased God and asked God to let him build a house for him, the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon was the one who built the Temple.
48“But the Most High does not live in houses that people build with their hands. As the prophet says:
49‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
So do you think you can build a house for me? says the Lord.
Do I need a place to rest?
50Remember, my hand made all these things!’ ” #Isaiah 66:1–2
51Stephen continued speaking: “You stubborn people! You have not given your hearts to God, nor will you listen to him! You are always against what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you, just as your ancestors were. 52Your ancestors tried to hurt every prophet who ever lived. Those prophets said long ago that the One who is good would come, but your ancestors killed them. And now you have turned against and killed the One who is good. 53You received the law of Moses, which God gave you through his angels, but you haven’t obeyed it.”
Stephen Is Killed
54When the leaders heard this, they became furious. They were so mad they were grinding their teeth at Stephen. 55But Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right side. 56He said, “Look! I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at God’s right side.”
57Then they shouted loudly and covered their ears and all ran at Stephen. 58They took him out of the city and began to throw stones at him to kill him. And those who told lies against Stephen left their coats with a young man named Saul. 59While they were throwing stones, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60He fell on his knees and cried in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” After Stephen said this, he died.