Stephen is arrested on false charges and put on trial (Acts 6: 11-15). The false charges against Stephen concern his attitude toward the Law and the Temple. Luke is clear that these are false charges against Stephen. He is not against the Law or the Temple.
The charges are similar to those brought against Jesus when he was before the Sanhedrin. Ben Witherington observes that Luke is patterning the death of Stephen after the trial and execution of Jesus. There are at least ten things the two trials have in common, and two which only appear in Luke/Acts. First, both Jesus and Stephen commit their spirit to God and second both pray for forgiveness for his accusers.
This is an important observation since in the Gospels the Jewish people reject Jesus as the Messiah, in Acts they are rejecting the promised Holy Spirit, the foundation for the Messianic Kingdom. Both rejections are punctuated…
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