As the gospel continues to transform the city of Jerusalem, resistance to the message of Jesus also continues to increase. Stephen, one of the key leaders of the early church – full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit – is hauled before the council on false charges before being killed in an act of mob violence. Stephen was the first martyr of the Christian church, but he was not the last, as many more followed in his footsteps to their death. This story of Stephen’s death serves to both encourage and warn us today: it encourages us by reminding us that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) and that ulimately, the Christian need not fear death, and yet it also serves us a warning. To follow Jesus is to be willing to take up your cross and follow him (Matt. 16:24-26).