Persecution and Triumph

 

When Stephen was being murdered for speaking the truth to the Sanhedrin, a young man named Saul was on hand for the festivities; he seemed to be watching over the cloaks of those who wanted to free up their throwing arms to really let Stephen have it, and according to 8:1 he fully approved of what was going on that day:

And Saul approved of their killing him.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Acts 8:1-3

It would seem that not only did Saul fully approve of Stephen’s cold-blooded murder, but he also took the murder to the next step, dragging believers from their homes in an effort to thwart God’s purpose. Of course, he had been blinded so thoroughly to the truth that he actually thought he was doing God a favor, as hard as that might be to fathom. As a result of this raging persecution of the fledgling church, believers began to flee from Jerusalem, moving out into both neighboring Judea and Samaria.

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