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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday: Stephen, the Martyr

Sorry I missed last week ..had one of those days.  Anyway, I am going to really try to study the scriptures instead of just reading them.  That was truly the point of this meme but I got lazy and was afraid to offend or sound preachy so I ended up just posting scripture passages and left it at that.  Well, I'm going to make it a study again and be more descriptive. 

Today's study/pondering is about Stephen, the martyr.  His story is found in the book of Acts, chapters 6 and 7.

Here's a summary of Stephen's story:
After the death of Jesus Christ, the Jews thought that miracles and such would end.  However, the Apostles continued the work and followers increased to the point that the Apostles needed help.  Seven men were chosen, one of which was Stephen, "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6:5).  Stephen preached the gospel and did many wonders and miracles among the people.  But many Jews were angered by his preaching and accused him of blasphemy because they did not believe that Jesus was the Saviour so they brought Stephen before a court of Jewish leaders.  At the trial, Stephen didn't try to defend himself but spoke of the history of Israel and told the people that they weren't obeying Gods commandments.  Those words and stating his vision, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56) angered them enough to take Stephen outside and stoned him to death ... full of the Holy Ghost, Stephen said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.  And when he said this, he fell asleep."  (Acts 7:59-60). 

Stephen's story is an example of a person who believes so strongly in something that he or she gives his life as a witness.  Stephen had a strong testimony of the Godhead and was martyred because of it.

Also we learn about laying on of hands (Acts 6:6) ... All who receive the priesthood are ordained by the laying of hands thus the Apostles gave the the priesthood authority, which they received from Jesus Christ, to the seven men.

What can we learn from Stephen's vision about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?    
LDS answer is found in D&C 130:22

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