The story of Stephen is found in Acts 6 and 7. He was a faithful and mature Christian. He was also chosen as one of the first deacons. Acts 6:2-8, " 'the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them…They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit…Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people." 

Stephen's faithfulness drew great opposition from the Jews. Acts 6:9,10, "Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke."

The Jews decided to frame him and bring him to trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 6:11-14). Stephen then gave a wonderful witness summarizing the history of the Jews through their decision to crucify Jesus. He did this with a beautiful spirit: "All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel," Acts 6:15.

At the end of his testimony, the Jews became furious, "Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him," Acts 7:54 (ESV). But Stephen was not frightened and he continued to focus on God. "…he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God,'” Acts 7:55,56 (ESV). 

The Jews could not tolerate Stephen's beautiful spirit and testimony. So,"they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul (who became the Apostle Paul). And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep," Acts 7:57-60 (ESV). Thus, Stephen became the first Christian martyr. He is a wonderful example to all of us.