Stephen begins by expressing his kinship with them. "Brother and fathers, listen to me!" Stephen doesn't distance himself from them but begins by seeking to show that he is a fellow Israelite, he hasn't abandoned or rejected their history, no, his faith in Jesus is the end result of fully understanding their history, of being one of God's people. This is no finger wagging telling off from a dispassionate academic. This is a compassionate declaration of the fact that Christ is the ultimate fulfilment of all the Old Testament pointed to and promised and a call to repentance.
He seeks to show the amazing way God has worked through history. Beginning with Abraham who believed the promise of God(5), was given the sign of the promise in circumcision and who lived by faith. Stephen is seeking to show that there is no disconnect between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Stephen has not abandoned Abraham and the covenant rather he has fully embraced it. He is not blaspheming against God as he has been charged, rather he is obeying God and everything God promised and planned and brought to pass.
His belief in Christ is rooted in God's work throughout history. So is our faith. Yet so often we know the New Testament so much better than the Old. The Old Testament is not a Jewish book, it is our history because it reveals our God and his wonders to us. It is of immense value to us, and we are poorer for its neglect.
With that in mind we are going to explore the Old Testament roots behind Stephen's teaching for the next few days.