When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Now, it gets down to the problem and the Sanhedrin is furious at Stephen. Stephen told them of how he saw heaven open up and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. This infuriated the religious leaders so much that they took him out and stoned him to death. A young man named Saul was there giving approval for the action. This same Saul would soon meet Jesus and be changed but for now he was still one of the biggest persecutors of Christians. Even while he was being stoned, Stephen asked the Lord to forgive the people that were doing it. This passage, though it seems to be full of defeat, contains a lot of inspiration for us, as Christians. First of all, Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He is there in the position of power interceding on behalf of us with God. Secondly, we see forgiveness. Just as Jesus did on the cross, Stephen asks for forgiveness for those that were killing him. We too are called to have that same attitude. From the smallest of offenses even unto death we are called to forgive those who wrong us.