Critical of the corrupt religious leaders who rejected Jesus, Stephen was an outspoken deacon who did not hold back. “You stubborn people!” he once yelled while speaking in Jerusalem. “You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels!” For this offense, Stephen was dragged out of the city and stoned to death. He was the Church’s first martyr and a much needed symbol of courage for many, for the persecution of Christians had only just begun.
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