DEATH OF THE SAINTS
“Stoning somebody to death, especially somebody as young and healthy as Stephen, isn’t easy. You don’t get the job done with the first few rocks and broken bottles, and even after you’ve got the person down, it’s a long, hot business. To prepare themselves for the workout, they stripped to the waist and got somebody to keep an eye on their things till they were through. The one they got was a young fire-breathing arch-conservative Jew named Saul, who was there because he thoroughly approved of what they were doing.
It was a scene that Saul never forgot. Years later when he’d become a Christian himself and was under arrest much as Stephen had been, he spoke of it. He wasn’t called Saul anymore by then, but Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, the great letter-writing saint, and he still remembered how it had been that day when he’d stood guard over the pile of coats and ties and watched a young man’s death.
Stephen was the first person to shed blood for the new faith he loved more than his life, and as Saul-who-was-to-become-Paul watched the grim process, it never occurred to him that by the grace of God the time was not far off when he himself would be another.” Frederick Buechner
In 2016 a Christian was killed every six minutes somewhere in the world for a total of over 90,000. Most of the killings were in Africa. Christians are by far the most persecuted group in the world. This was reported by an Italian Religious Watch organization.
“Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” Jesus