And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.”
And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.
This is so reminiscent of what happened with Jesus. The religious leaders couldn’t argue against His wisdom or the Holy Spirit who was working through Him so they got people to lie about Him. A lot of times they tried to stump Him but He always got the better of them. Stephen was a man filled with the Holy Spirit, faith and power. He did many great things among the people. It was obvious that God was with him but that stirred these men up and they began disputing with Stephen. They couldn’t stand up against his wisdom or the Holy Spirit who spoke through him so they secretly got people to bare false witness against him. Not satisfied with that, they got the people, elders and scribes to go against Stephen and they brought him to the council. There the witnesses lied, accusing him of blaspheming against the temple and the law. They accused him of speaking against Moses and God and saying that Jesus would destroy the place and change the customs Moses handed down to them.
These men resorted to lying because they couldn’t accept Stephen’s teachings, the signs and wonders he did. They wanted to discredit him but when they looked at him they couldn’t deny the fact that he had the face of an angel.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is obvious. And when we belong to Christ, it is obvious. People should look at us and see that we belong to Him. When we have a close relationship with God it shows. When Moses left God’s presence, his face shone so brightly that they had to cover it with a veil. When we leave Christ’s presence, our faces should be radiant. People should look at us and see Him. Stephen was a godly man. He was not of the world. Among these devious men he stood out. He was like a lamb among wolves. There will come a time when some of us will face the same ordeal as Stephen but we will not be afraid because God is with us. Like Stephen we can be convinced that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Acts 6:8-15; Romans 8:38, 39