54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;
58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
cut to the heart (v.54) — as if with a saw
gnashed at him with their teeth (v.54) — an expression of rage and hatred
being full of the Holy Spirit (v.55) — the tense indicates “having been and continuing to be full”
Jesus standing at the right hand of God (v.55) — the first appearance of the Lord in glory.
Son of Man standing at the right hand of God (v.56) — Jesus Christ said this of Himself before this same Council (Luke 22:69).
Son of Man (v.56) — the name Jesus frequently used of Himself. Here, it drove the point home that the One the Council was refusing to accept was God.
out of the city (v.58) — The law required that execution be done outside the gates of Jerusalem (Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:35). — Although Roman law forbade the Jews to execute (John 18:31).
witnesses (v.58) — The witnesses were required to throw the first stones (Deuteronomy 17:7). They first took off their cloaks and laid them by Saul for him to watch (Acts 22:20). He was perhaps the leader of the stoning.
he fell asleep (v.60) — A word aptly expressing the peaceful passing of his soul to be with Christ. Contrast the verb used of the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5, 10).
For the use of this verb to denote the “passing” of true believers, see Matthew 27:52; John 11:11; Acts 13:36; 1 Corinthians 15:18, 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15; 2 Peter 3:4. From this Greek verb our word “cemetery” is taken. The Jews, doubtless, exceeded their legal powers in the execution of Stephen. We know from John 18:31 that the Sanhedrin had no authority, at this period, to put anyone to death. — Walker, pages 180-181.
Several of my commentaries note how Christ is said to be seated at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3). To explain why Stephen saw Him standing, they suggest that He stood to welcome Stephen. Stam has a different, and I think better, take:
It is in connection with the judgment of Christ’s enemies and the deliverance of the faithful remnant that we find the Father and the Son rising again in such prophetic passages as the following: “Arise, O Lord, in Thine anger; lift up Thyself because of the rage of mine enemies …” (Psalm 7:6).
And since Israel’s rebellion was but the climax of the world’s rebellion against God and His Christ (Acts 4:23-28) we read further: “Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen [lit. nations] be judged in Thy sight” (Psalm 9:19).
Had Israel, by her persistent rejection of Messiah, brought the wrath of God upon herself and the other nations? Had the rejected Father and His rejected Son risen to smite the world in judgment? Was Christ about to avenge His persecuted disciples? Surely conditions were ripening for the outpouring of God’s wrath, as far as prophecy was concerned.
Thank God, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). In matchless love and mercy God still postponed the judgment and ushered in the present dispensation of grace. — Stam, pages 233-234