Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3589

Jump Start # 3589

Acts 6:15 “And fixing their gaze upon him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.”

  Our verse today is about Stephen. He was one of the seven chosen to help the neglected widows at the front end of this chapter. He was preforming miracles and preaching boldly. The section states that the Jews were “unable to cope with the wisdom and spirit which he was speaking.” Stirring the crowd up, they forcibly pulled Stephen away and dragged him before the Jewish Council. Now, he was really in trouble. It is in the next chapter, chapter seven, that Stephen gives a grand overview of the Old Testament, ending with Jesus. Covering their hands over their ears, like a three-year-old, they rushed him out of the city and without any formal trial or Roman permission, they took matters into their own hands and executed him right there.

  Before Stephen gave his final speech, the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. Now, we shouldn’t have the image of the chubby baby figurines that are found in gift stores. Nor, is the picture of long flowing hair and wings and halos what we find in the Bible. I doubt most, if not all, in that Council had ever seen an angel. So, how did they know what the face of an angel looked like?

  Here are some thoughts:

  First, standing alone in a hostile crowd, Stephen was not begging for mercy, apologizing, compromising or stating that he had been misunderstood. The flow of the Scriptures brings us the conclusion that Stephen was confident. He wasn’t afraid. He knew what was right and he was standing upon what was right. Truth cannot be shaped to fit circumstances. The pressure from others can cause one to soften the message and often even change the message.

  There is a blessed assurance that comes from standing upon the word of God. The Psalmist declared that he was wiser than his teachers, because of the Word of God. When one has the truth, he doesn’t fear being questioned. When one has the truth, he doesn’t have to stoop to psychological games and tricks to make his point. Stephen’s walk through the Old Testament shows he understood the plan of God. He saw how prophecy pointed to Jesus. He was sure. He was confident.

  Stephen had the face of an angel.

  Second,  as the audience collapsed around him in anger, Stephen fixed his gaze intently into Heaven. What a contrast. Our verse states that the Council fixed their gaze upon Stephen. They were looking at him and he was looking at Heaven. Maybe it’s that kind of faith that gave him the face of an angel. Maybe, it’s the very thing that can get us through dark and tough days. While everyone is looking at us, we are looking at Heaven. Fixing your eyes upon Jesus, is what Hebrews tells us. Set your mind on things above is what the Colossians knew.

  There didn’t seem to be a friend for Stephen in that audience. As the atmosphere quickly turned from anger, to violence, Stephen remained faithful. They argued with Stephen (6:9). They told lies about Stephen (6:11). They were violent towards him (6:12). They made false accusations supported by people who claimed they witnessed him saying those things (6:13). Toxic. Hostile. Mean. Those words describe many work settings and define many family get togethers.

  What Stephen doesn’t do is talk about himself. He doesn’t get into a “No I didn’t,” verses a “Yes, you did,” exchange. It wasn’t about him. He talked about God’s Messiah.

  This can be a tactic of those who want to hurt you and embarrass you. Rather than talking about what you believe, they switch the topic to talking about you. You lied. You are not right. And, false witnesses rise up who claim that they have proof that you lied. And, suddenly the focus switches to defending yourself.

  Stephen didn’t fall into that trap. He kept himself out of the discussion. It wasn’t about him. It was about the people and God.

  Stephen had the face of an angel.

  Third, the way Stephen conducted himself, left an impression upon those who were there. They claimed he had the face of an angel. That is what they saw. And, how we conduct ourselves when people are upset with what you believe can be as important as what you say. When we get into the mud and start throwing dirt back, we’ve pretty much shut down any profitable discussions. Watch your anger. Be careful with the words you speak. Your tone and your volume matter.

  Remember, Jesus, when reviled, uttered no threats in return. Jesus left us an example to follow when standing before critics, crucifiers, and complainers. Proverbs tells us not to answer a fool according to his folly.

  Stephen had the face of an angel. That is something for us to think about.