8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
7:1Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”
2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ k 
What struck me in today’s passage is the similarity between Stephen’s experience and that of Jesus. Both performed amazing signs. Both spoke with a wisdom that their opponents could not refute. Both were accused by false witnesses when brought up for trial. Both were accused of speaking against the temple.
Too many parallels for mere coincidence. Luke and the Holy Spirit have a point to make here, and it is an important one.
The goal of discipleship is to grow in the character and competence of Christ, to be conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of the mission and others. Stephen is clearly a disciple who has grown and been conformed.
But what happens when we become more and more like Jesus? This passage reminds us that one of the outcomes is that some people will treat us the same way that they treated Jesus. In other words, we should not be thinking that imitation of Christ is the key to earthly success, that it will cause all people to like us, and for our business and work to flourish. It might have the opposite effect.
Worldly success might very well elude us as we follow Christ. We might see people get ahead at work who are willing to compromise their ethics. We might be labeled a goody-two-shoes when we choose a God-pleasing path regarding morality. We might lose friends who walk away from our witness. We might even face persecution.
But we are being led into the good life, life to the full as Jesus put it, a life of joy, which is life in fellowship with Christ.
My prayer is that the same Spirit who led Stephen would lead me, that my life would be conformed to Christ, and that even though this may mean people treat me as they treated Christ, I would be faithful and experience the true joy that comes from knowing my Savior.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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 The New International Version. 2011 (Ac 6:8–7:3). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.