THE man kneeling here is Stephen. He is a faithful disciple of Jesus. But look at what’s happening to him now! These men are throwing big stones at him. Why do they hate Stephen so much that they are doing this terrible thing? Let’s see.
God has been helping Stephen to do wonderful miracles. These men don’t like this, and so they get into an argument with him about his teaching the people the truth. But God gives Stephen great wisdom, and Stephen shows that these men have been teaching false things. This makes them even angrier. So they grab him, and call in people to tell lies about him.
The high priest asks Stephen: ‘Are these things true?’ Stephen answers by giving a fine talk from the Bible. At the end of it, he tells how bad men hated Jehovah’s prophets long ago. Then he says: ‘You are just like those men. You killed God’s servant Jesus, and you have not obeyed God’s laws.’
This makes these religious leaders very angry! They grind their teeth in rage. But then Stephen lifts his head up, and says: ‘Look! I see Jesus standing at the right side of God in heaven.’ At this, these men put their hands over their ears and rush at Stephen. They grab him and drag him outside the city.
Here they take their coats off and give them to the young man Saul to take care of. Do you see Saul? Then some of the men begin throwing stones at Stephen. Stephen kneels down, as you can see, and he prays to God: ‘Jehovah, do not punish them for this bad thing.’ He knows some of them have been fooled by the religious leaders. After that Stephen dies.
When someone does something bad to you, do you try to hurt them back, or ask God to hurt them? That’s not what Stephen or Jesus did. They were kind even to those who were unkind to them. Let’s try to copy their example.