When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Acts 7:54-56
Chapter 6-7 in the book of Acts documents the events of a disciple named Stephen. Now remember from previously , he was one of the seven men chosen by the Apostles, a deacon of the Church of Jerusalem. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit and highly respected among the Church. Many historians believe Stephen was the first martyr in Christianity.
Stephen was performing many signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, and when the orthodox Jews confronted him about this, they couldn’t stand up against the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. So they made false accusations against Stephen, claiming he was speaking blasphemy against Moses and God. They acquired false witnesses to make false claims against him in front of the religious leaders (Acts 6: 8-15)
While Stephen was on trial, being filled with the Holy Spirit, he looked up into Heaven and saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. Imagine the comfort Stephen must of felt knowing The Lord was looking over him
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Acts 7:57-59
When they asked Stephen to give his testimony, he basically went through the entire Bible from Abraham to Moses to Jesus. Only someone filled with the Holy Spirit could have gave such a great exegesis of the Bible, however the religious leaders were unable to comprehend the gospel
We notice a man named Saul responsible for the stoning of Stephen, this was the Apostle Paul before he became Born Again on the road to Damascus. This is why Paul calls himself the “Chief of Sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) Paul was partly responsible for the death of Stephen, and he carried that guilt with him the rest of his life. But God took a man like Paul and used him for his good to spread the gospel to all the Gentiles
Notice what Stephen says before he dies “Lord Jesus , receive my Spirit” This is significant because in the Old Testament Psalm 31 “Into your hands I commit my spirit” , this was a prayer often said in Judaism to God. Stephen is displaying the deity of Christ by committing his Spirit into the hands of Jesus!