How could the disciple Stephen remain so calm when being persecuted?

STEPHEN faced a group of hostile men. As members of the highest court in Israel, the Sanhedrin, those 71 judges were among the most powerful men in the nation. They had been assembled by High Priest Caiaphas, who presided over the court a few months earlier when Jesus was condemned to death. (Matt. 26:57, 59; Acts 6:8-12) As they brought forward false accusers one after another, they noticed something rather surprising about Stephen​—his face looked “like an angel’s face.”​—Acts 6:13-15.

How could Stephen remain calm and serene in such an intimidating situation? Before he was dragged before the Sanhedrin, Stephen had been fully immersed in his ministerial work under the powerful influence of God’s spirit. (Acts 6:3-7) When he was on trial, that same spirit was operating on him, both as a comforter and as a remembrancer. (John 14:16, ftn.) As Stephen made his bold defense, recorded in Acts chapter 7, holy spirit brought back to his mind some 20 or more passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. (John 14:26) But Stephen’s faith was further strengthened when he received a vision of Jesus standing at God’s right hand.​—Acts 7:54-56, 59, 60.

We may one day find ourselves facing threats and persecution. (John 15:20) By feeding regularly on God’s Word and by being active in the ministry, we allow Jehovah’s spirit to be at work in us. We will also find the strength to withstand opposition while maintaining our inner peace.​—1 Pet. 4:12-14.