Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.
As predicted, the Council gets very angry at Stephen. His vision of God only angers them further and it leads to his death by their hands through stoning. It will be the young church’s first martyr and it will also be a pivotal moment that changes the direction of the church from being Jerusalem centric to a more world wide movement. Stephen’s death is the catalyst for this change.
The other thing of note is that this is the first mention of Saul who will become Paul. Luke probably had Paul at his elbow when he wrote this gospel so Paul is probably the source of this story directly. It should be noted that Paul probably was around as a young Pharisee or Pharisee in training at the time of Jesus. He will be undoubtedly the most influential apostle for the cause of Gentile faith but at this moment he is enjoying the death of a saint of God. It will be something that will haunt him even after salvation.
Next: Saul Persecutes the Church.