Acts 7:52 - Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered

Falsely accused of blasphemy, Stephen stands up at his “trial” and gives a brief history of the Israelites.

He teaches that God initially set up a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15. This covenant was, ultimately, to reverse the curse of Adam and, much later, result in Jesus coming to earth.

God’s work all through the Old Testament is a line that points to Jesus and Stephen speaks of the opposition this faced from the very people through whom God was trying to save the world:

Joseph, God’s chosen, was rejected by his brothers (v9).

Moses, God’s chosen, was rejected by his Israelite brothers both before (v27,35) and during his leadership over Israel (v39).

Twice, it says of Moses, he was “thrust aside” (v27,39). Of Joseph, his brothers “sold him into Egypt” (v9) - thrust aside.

Genesis 37:26-28 - Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.

And what have we in Jesus? The Son of God thrust aside by the exact people now interrogating Stephen:

John 18:19,24 - The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching… Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Acts 7:1–2 - And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said…

Like Joseph, Jesus was sold into the hands of the Romans and the bribe fee was paid by some of these same men:

Matthew 26:14-15 - Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

In the oddest logic, these men killed Stephen because they killed Jesus.

History repeats itself. Persecution of the righteous is baked into the sin nature from the days of Cain and Abel.

So may we not shrink back from gently speaking what we truly know as truth. May we not hide what we believe. May we not pretend to believe things we don’t. And may we be given wisdom and faith for any of God’s great truths we don’t fully yet believe!

John 3:19 - And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

Acts 6:15 - And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.