What does it mean that the deacon Stephen had the appearance of an angel?
[Darris McNeely] You've heard the term angel face. And when you hear someone say that, "That person has got kind of an angel face or an angelic look about them." You probably think of something that's you know, rather nice, and smiley, and unassuming, and kind, and gentle looking. And it could very well be in one sense. But when you look at something else that the Bible tells us, having an angel face might mean more than just looking, kind of, sweet and beatific-like. In Acts Chapter 6, we have the story of Stephen, one of the six men that were appointed as servants within the church. And Stephen almost overnight, becomes this dynamic personality and he gets himself in trouble with the leadership of the Jewish community there in the temple area, and they bring him before the council. And Acts 6:15 describes Stephen sitting in front of these doctors of the law who are very upset with what he has been preaching and teaching.
And it says, "He sat in the council, and all who sat there saw him looking steadfastly, and they saw his face as the face of an angel." Now, what did Stephen's face look like having a face of an angel? Well, students of the Bible know that there are several places where we do have actual descriptions of angels. One of them is in Revelation Chapter 4, and we find that there's four choices that we can look at as to what a face of an angel might look like. It could look like a lion. It could look like an ox. It could look like an eagle, or it could look like a man. Now an ox is rather stern, an eagle is very piercing as they look, and a lion can be very, very fierce and threatening as well. And then, a human face, taking all of that together, what was on Stephen's face if had the look of an angelic face upon him as he sat in this very difficult situation with a group of people who literally wanted to tear him apart?
I think that Stephen, being the disciple that he was, had a very determined, confident look of courage mixed with probably a high level of calm. He knew exactly what he believed. He knew what his message was all about. He was not phased at all. He goes on to give a very lengthy defense of what he believed, and what was taking place in the church community at that time. I think Stephen reflects to us that spirit, that confidence, that courage and conviction of a disciple who is filled with the spirit of God and led by God to witness for Jesus Christ, and for the truth of God to the world.
Something that is needed for all of us as disciples, as we go about doing the work of God, and witnessing for Christ in our world today. Having the face of an angel, think about that. It's more than just looking sweet and nice. It also involves courage and conviction.
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