54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
The Face of An Angel
The church of Jesus Christ was growing by the thousands, sending the Jewish council into a panic. What were they going to do to stop it? It seemed that everything they did just caused the church to grow even more! Such was the case with Stephan in Acts 6 & 7.
When brought before the council, Stephen boldly proclaimed the Word of God. Acts 6 ends with the words,
And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
When false accusations were made against him, Stephen had the opportunity to preach the Gospel to the council. Beginning with Abraham, he proclaimed both the hand of God working through the historic events, as well as the Jewish "church" opposing the prophets God sent, ending with the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Stopping their ears at his words, the men of the council drug him out of the council chambers and took him outside of the city and stoned him.
One of the most striking characteristics of the early church was their total dedication to their duty of spreading the Gospel. I am not referring to just the apostles. As the Jewish people became Christians, they sold all they had and brought it to the church and lived together in one community.
I am not suggesting we follow that example today, but we must seriously take a look at their total dedication to the Lord. Do we owe the Lord any less?
How important is our faith in Christ? What impact does our faith have on our lives, especially our "every day" life?
No matter where God has put us, He demands, and rightly so, our all! Stephen was so filled with the Spirit of God that when he stood before the council his face was as the face of an angel, and he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. How would our life be different today if, by the grace of God, we focused our thoughts on our Lord, sitting at the right hand of God?
That does not exempt us from the normal daily duties of our life, but when we are doing the dishes, cleaning the house, folding the laundry, or walking from one place to another in our place of employment, we can take those moments to reflect upon the Lord. We can also, as encouraged by Paul, pray without ceasing; bringing up those quick prayers of thanks, pleas for help, etc. throughout our day.
Christ walks right along with us, no matter where we go. Think about that as you seek to live for Him this day.
God Bless You,
All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.