Luke, in the person of Stephen, uses four periods in Moses life, beginning with his birth and then separated by 40 years each, to show a correlation between Moses and the Prophet who would be like him (Jesus), and subsequent parallels in the lives of those who would be like Jesus. What happened to Moses reoccurred in Jesus’ life under different circumstances, and, perhaps unexpectedly, we find what happened to Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), also occurred in the “life” of the Body of Christ—the believing community—and this is Stephen’s defense, Moses’ life is Stephen’s vindication and the vindication of the Gospel
Moses, whom the Jews of Stephen’s day claimed to revere, was not revered by the people of God in Moses’ lifetime. This was repeated in Jesus’ life—the Prophet like Moses—and was currently being repeated in the lives of Jesus’ disciples.
At the age of 40 Moses stood up to protect his people (Acts 7:23), and, just as Moses before him (Acts 7:22; cp. Luke 24:19; Acts 3:22), Jesus took the part of his oppressed people against those who held them in bondage (Matthew 23:13-15), and though this has him striking out at the oppressor with the “sword of his mouth” (Psalm 149:6; Isaiah 49:2; Revelation 1:16; 2:16; 19:16), Jesus promised real judgment (Luke 18:7) and brought it to pass in 70 CE, while safely delivering his disciples (cp. 2Peter 2:7). Moses tried to intervene in the lives of his brethren in order to reconcile their differences and lead one people out of bondage (Acts 7:24). Similarly, Jesus showed his brethren that violence was not the answer for their problems (cp. John 18:10-11). Nevertheless, the Scriptures show Moses was rejected by his people (Acts 7:24), and this had to be fulfilled in the Prophet who was like him as well (cp. John 18:25-27).
True to form, what happened to Jesus had to be fulfilled in the life of his Body, the church. Peter spoke out against the oppressor promising both salvation and judgment (Acts 2:13-21; cp.4:8-11, 19-20; 5:29-32), but when Stephen lifted up his hand to take the part of the oppressed people (Acts 6:8), there arose against him those among his own people who had been his friends (Acts 6:9-11; cp. 7:58b).
When Moses found his life in danger, he fled to Midian and dwelt there as an alien, where he had two sons. Jesus’ life was often in danger (cp. John 5:16; 7:1, 19-20, 25; 8:37, 40, 59; 10:31-33; 11:47-53; Matthew 26:4; Luke 22:2), but he dwelt among his people as though he were an alien (John 1:11; cp. John 4:44) until the time he had two “sons” – i.e. two kinds of disciples, the Apostles, who represented Jesus own people the Jews, and the Jews of the Diaspora who lived among the Gentiles (cp. John 12:20-22) and represented the nations.
Jesus disciples lived among the Jewish people, but they lived under the watchful eye of the Jewish authorities who waited for an opportunity to slay them. The disciples, too, lived as aliens among their own people preaching the Gospel and reaching out to heal the sick and aid the oppressed. The Grecian or Hellenist Messianic Jews probably fulfilled this role more closely than their Palestinian brethren, for they were even considered alien by some of their own number if ceremonial issues could be taken into consideration (cp. Acts 6:7)! In any case, they would be among the first who would have to flee Jerusalem (Egypt – cp. Revelation 11:8) for safety away from the rule of the enemy.