If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 1 Peter 4:14
He was a man "full of faith" and "full of God's grace and power." When the disciples were looking for men "full of the Spirit and wisdom," he was the first to be chosen. And he was the first to die for Jesus. When charges of blasphemy were brought against him, and he was brought before the court, those looking on noted that his "face was like the face of an angel."
Stephen did not waste the opportunity at his trial to tell the Jewish leaders about Jesus. Beginning with Abraham, he detailed how God worked through the centuries to bring the Messiah to the nation of Israel. The leaders' patience turned to fury when Stephen said that they "betrayed and murdered" the "Righteous One." But as they "gnashed their teeth at him," Stephen "looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:52-56).
Interestingly, this is the most detailed biblical account of a person dying for Christ. God gives us a front row seat to view the last leg of the journey for a man who followed hard after Jesus. While they were stoning Stephen he was speaking directly to his Savior, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." His last request was that the sins of those stoning him not be held against them. Indeed, "the Spirit of glory and of God" rested on Stephen. If we should ever follow in his footsteps, that same promise belongs to us.
Father, thank You for the great comfort the story of Stephen gives us. Thank You for the confidence in knowing that in our last breath, whether at the hands of others or by natural causes, Your Spirit of glory rests on the believer. And Your Spirit of glory will carry us home. In Jesus' name. Amen.