I suppose it is
a helpful thing to be full of the Holy Spirit and see the heavens open when you
are being stoned to death but in the end no one survives martyrdom without pain.
Just saying. Maybe if Stephen had been more diplomatic and not called the high
priest and the teachers of the law “stiff necked people, uncircumcised in heart
and ears” and “betrayers and murders” of the Messiah (7:51-52) they would have
been more inclined to listen to his version of Israel’s history. (7:1-54) But
he was full of the Holy Spirit and his words were not his own. In the end he
followed the way of Christ although his “Father forgive them for they know not what
they do” (Luke 23:34) was “do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60) which
does not give his tormenters the benefit of ignorance and in that way he might
be considered more merciful than the Christ. I hope that doesn’t get me stoned.