More and more people began to follow Jesus. Some of the widows among them were poor and did not have enough food. So the church helped them and gave them food. But some of the people among them spoke another language. They began to complain. They thought that their widows were not getting as much food as some of the other widows.
By now, the first disciples that Jesus chose were called the apostles. They called the church together and said, “We should not neglect teaching God’s word to be in charge of getting food to people. Choose seven wise men who allow God’s Spirit to lead them. Let them do this work.”
Everyone thought that this was a good idea. So they chose a man named Stephen, a man named Philip, and five other men. Then the apostles prayed over them and put their hands on them. This was a sign that they had given them authority to do this work.
And the word of God was reaching more and more people. Even some of the priests in the Temple believed and followed Jesus. And the church grew and grew.
Now, Stephen was a man who was full of faith. God even used him to do many miracles. One day, a group of men came to Stephen and started to argue with him about Jesus. But God gave Stephen wisdom and he answered them well.
So the men went away. They convinced some other men to tell lies about Stephen. They said that Stephen was saying bad things about the law and about God. The leaders of the Jews believed the men who lied. So they became very angry. They dragged Stephen outside of the city. Then they started to throw rocks at him to kill him. As Stephen was dying, he prayed and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And do not hold this sin against them.” These were his last words. Then he died.