Think back over all of the Sunday School lessons that you have had in your life. Can you tell everyone who Stephen was? Correct, he was the first Christian martyr. In all of those years did you learn anything more about the events and people centered around his stoning? Maybe something involving someone named Saul? Yes, Saul (later to be Paul) held the cloaks of those stoning Stephen. He had to live with the knowledge of what he had done to many of Jesus' followers, and especially to this committed disciple. Jesus set the example of forgiving his tormentors and Stephen followed this example at his death. Pray for the ability to follow this example with all of your power wherever it may lead.
Break It Down
God's Irresistible Word: Acts 6:8-10 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Let's take a look at verse 8. This verse tells us that Stephen was full of faith and power. Through the power of God he was able to perform great wonders and miracles. Although Jesus has been crucified and ascended to heaven, he sent a comforter - the holy spirit. He - the holy spirit, the third person of the trinity - provided the power to perform these miracles. He also provided the ability to forgive those who persecuted Stephen. This is an impressive example of living the exemplary lifestyle that Jesus had called all of his disciples to.
Some churches have deacons as the leaders of the day-to-day activities of the church. If your church has a deacon board you may recognize Stephen as a deacon. He, along with six others, was selected to serve the needs of disciples and their families while the twelve committed themselves to prayer and ministry. As you have probably realized, in your years here on earth, one person cannot do everything. Take a look at the different duties at your school. You could relate the twelve apostles to the principal of the school. They had a "higher calling" to be committed to so they placed the seven "deacons" in charge of the needs of the multitude of disciples. Just as the principal cannot run the entire school and instruct every student in every subject, the apostles could not be constantly in prayer and ministry of God's word to meet the spiritual needs while also meeting the physical needs of the flock.