Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?
&c.] Either by reviling and speaking all manner of evil of them, ( Matthew 5:11 Matthew 5:12 ) or by killing them, ( Matthew 23:31 Matthew 23:37 ) and they have slain them; as Isaiah, Zachariah, and others:
which showed before of the coming of the just one;
of Jesus the Messiah, whose character in the prophecies of the Old Testament is righteous servant, righteous branch, just, and having salvation; and whom Stephen styles so partly on account of the holiness of his nature, and the innocence and harmlessness of his life; and partly because he is the author of righteousness, and the end of the law for it to all that believe; of whose coming in the flesh all the prophets more or less spoke: and this being good news, and glad tidings, made the sin of the Jewish fathers the greater, in putting them to death, as the innocent character of Christ was an aggravation of the Jews' sin, in murdering of him, as it follows:
of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers;
Judas, one of their nation, betrayed him into the hands of the chief priests and elders; and they betrayed, or delivered him into the hands of Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death, which they greatly importuned, and would not be satisfied without; and therefore are rightly called the murderers, as well as the betrayers of him.