Acts 7:55,56 – But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
This story about Steven can be easily overlooked, it marked the very first hint of the gospel going global. Steven began to preach to the Hellenistic Jews. These were Jews from different parts of the world that were Jewish ethnically, but were cultural like the secular world. The Lord used Steven to throw this first volley toward global evangelism, and it cost Steven his life. What stands out to me about Steven was the supernatural edge that was on his life. Luke said Steven was full of the Spirit. Here is what Ellicott said about this phrase.
“Being full of the Holy Ghost.—There is something suggestive in the fact that this description comes at the close, as at the beginning, of the record of St. Stephen’s work. From first to last he had been conspicuous as manifesting the power of the higher life which had, as it were, illumined and transfigured his whole being. The Greek “being full” implies, not a sudden inspiration, but a permanent state.”
Luke also said Steven saw the glory of God. Here again is Ellicott on this phrase.
“And saw the glory of God.—Stephen had begun with speaking of “the God of glory”. He ends with the vision of that glory as belonging to the Son of Man. The fact was inferred partly, we may believe, from the rapt, fixed expression of the martyr’s face, partly from the words that followed, interpreting that upward gaze.”
Steven was given a glimpse into eternity as his death approached. He saw Christ rise from the throne welcoming His first martyr into the kingdom. Here is Ellicott on this passage.
“Behold, I see the heavens opened.—It is manifest that the vision was given to the inward spiritual eye, and not to that of sense. No priest or scribe saw the glory of the opened heavens, and, therefore, the words which declared that Stephen saw them seemed to them but an aggravation of guilt that was already deep.”
Obviously Steven was a man of the Spirit experiencing a permanent state of being filled to overflowing. I have experienced many multiple fillings of the Holy Spirit in my life; reading about Steven challenges me- it tells me that there is way more for all of us.