In the 6th Chapter of Acts, verses 8-15, we first learn of the amazing disciple whose name is Stephen. I have always been extremely fond of this fascinating character in our Salvation story.
There are two wonderful descriptions of him in this chapter that are the reason why he caught my attention years ago.
First, he is described as “working great wonders and signs” because he was “filled with grace and power.” The people who hate him, probably because, as in the case of Jesus, they were threatened and jealous of his gifts, begin to persecute Stephen. They are defeated by his wisdom and the Holy Spirit who inspires him and gives him courage.
So, as often happens when evil sees it’s losing, lies are uttered against the righteous. And the public are all too ready to believe the lies.
And then, here’s the second description that makes me admire Stephen so, the Sanhedrin, every last one of them, “looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
That’s it. Right there. I cannot recall very many places at all in Scripture where someone’s outward appearance is described or compared to anything, much less an angel.
But, once again, as is so often the case, because he looks so beautiful and calm and certain of who he is and what he believes, evil hates him all the more.
Stephen is a great example for all believers. We don’t know if he’s ruggedly handsome or has an aquiline nose. We aren’t told what color his eyes or his hair are. Or how tall he is. None of that matters. Because his face is like that of an angel so he is beautiful. Angels see the face of God. If that doesn’t make one’s visage appear beautiful, nothing will.
Actually, it’s probably an indescribable quality that the Sanhedrin behold in Stephen’s countenance. He just looks better than them. And they cannot stand that.
The next chapter reveals Stephen’s fate. He is martyred, stoned to death by a furious crowd who could not bear to hear the truth.
This entire account inspires me to be more bold. And not just with my enemies who will persecute my beliefs. But it inspires me to boldly seek God’s grace more in every moment. I ask God to pour His grace into my heart and soul so that all I see and hear and feel is with God’s eyes, and ears, and heart.
I will read this account again and again. And pray to be more like Stephen. His courage, his wisdom, his faith should inspire us all.