NT Wright on the martyrdom of St. Stephen:

In the great Jewish tradition of martyrdom, the dying called down curses on their persecutors; the first Christian martyr followed his Lord in praying for their forgiveness. But forgiveness wasn’t what they wanted (despite the fact that this was what the Temple stood for!); they wanted their worldview left intact. That’s the stuff that stonings are made of. But God has laid in Zion the true corner stone, precious beyond imagining to those who believe.

N. T. Wright, Twelve Months of Sundays: Reflections on Bible Readings, Year A, (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2001), 63.