In his defence before the Jewish council, Stephen went on to
say that they also resisted the Holy Spirit because their fathers persecuted
the prophets and they too were doing same. Their fathers persecuted those who
foretold the coming of the righteous one whom they had murdered. They had
received the law of God which they had not kept. This accusation angered them,
so they ground their teeth against Stephen, But soon, Stephen gazed into heaven
and announced that he saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. Because of
this, they could no longer bear it; they rushed upon him and dragged him out of
the city.

As they were stoning him, he prayed to God for their forgiveness,
for they did not know what they were doing. While this was going on, Saul, who
later became Paul, bore witness. He kept their clothes and gave his approval to
it all. 
Stephen’s trial was of significance to the early church in the
following ways:
 
  • It led to the evangelisation outside Jerusalem, 
  • Stephen’s death led to great persecution in Jerusalem, 
  • The stoning of
    Stephen helped to introduce Saul who later became Paul the apostle to the
    Gentiles, 
  • Saul led the persecution of the church.