Stephen is a “martyr” (in English that means someone who dies for their beliefs, but in Greek it means someone who bears witness to their faith). Stephen points to Jesus, and witnesses to truth – even at expense of speaking against “holy” things. In his defense he retells the story of salvation Heilsgeschichte but focused on Israelite unbelief and presenting Jesus as fulfillment of old old story (Acts 7:35-37). In vv.48-49 he presents the temple too as foreshadowing what Jesus fulfills.
Literary foreshadowing with Saul as the witness to the death of Stephen the witness.
If we believe what Stephen says, how can we avoid witnessing to Jesus? If Christ has done things for us, so that we know what God offers humanity in him, surely we too must witness…. God has a track record in the OT that is consistent (indeed fulfilled) in Jesus and God has a track record today (also consistent with Jesus) in our lives….
NB at the beginning of Acts 8 we see the actions and the words of these witnesses align – how about our life and our words?
Tags: Acts, fulfillment, martyr, Stephen, witness