Then the high priest asked him (Stephen), “Are these things so?” And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me.” Acts 7:1-2
Stephen’s situation takes nerves of steel and eagle eyed faith. He is standing before those in authority and onlookers, who are watching and anticipating his downfall. It is his faith which is fully powered by the Holy Spirit by which he receive the Peace of God to speak righteousness and Christ’s Truth. It is a large group of people and they are against him.
He does not begin with ‘my friends’ because they are not. He does not begin with ‘honorable council and holy onlookers’ since he does not view them as such. He does not begin his sermon with ‘Thank you for asking me to speak here today’ since he stands before them as they demand and explanation to the half-truths he is being accused of and is persecuted for his faith.
He addresses them as ‘brothers and fathers’ though brothers in the Jewish faith and fathers of agedness. He first asks that they will unstop their ears. “Listen to me,” Stephen requests. Then as he speaks our Lord quells his nervousness with the fullness of His Peace. We remember at Jesus’ Transfiguration God said, “This is My Son whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” Matthew 17:5. Stephen has listened and is listening to our Lord Jesus Christ and his words are orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.