Stephen was one of seven men chosen by the disciples to care for the Greek-speaking widows in the church (6:5). Like the apostles, Stephen not only ministered to the needy but also proclaimed the gospel. Many of the religious leaders grew angry at Stephen, who was performing signs and wonders and speaking with great wisdom. They dragged him before the Sanhedrin, where he was falsely accused of blasphemy. During his defense, Stephen compared Israel’s repeated disobedience in OT times to the nation’s present rejection of the Messiah. This made the members of the Sanhedrin so angry that they cast him out of the city and stoned him. Stephen’s prayers as he was dying echoed those prayed by Jesus on the cross (7:59–60). His martyrdom led to a time of persecution against the church. (Acts 6:8–10)