In Antioch, Stephen’s best friend is crucified for defacing its patron goddess, and the city turns on Jews.
He flees to Cyrene. There he meets Simon. Persecution against Jews is worse here. They try to keep Stephen out of the market, university and local Olympic games.
He decides the only solution is to pass himself off as a Gentile and start a secret synagogue with secret worship. When discovered, Stephen suffers at the hands of both pagan Gentiles and Jews.
Simon cannot handle the persecution any longer, so moves from Cyrene to Jerusalem. When Stephen visits Jerusalem for Passover, he sees Simon carrying the cross of Jesus. They both become Christians and the persecution starts all over again.
Stephen marries, then decides to move permanently to Jerusalem with his wife and small children. Here he becomes a deacon to help Greek widows and is given the power to perform miracles by the apostles. Saul goes after both Stephen and Simon of Cyrene. They rush to save each other’s lives.
As Stephen takes his final steps toward the stoning pit, he can still hear his father in years past. “Take another step, Son. Now another. Hold your head high. Don’t let them see weakness. You’re doing fine. Now another step. I’m here, Son. I will never leave you. You’re almost home.”