“All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15
Ever wondered what an angel’s face actually looks like? Is it super-gloriously bright and otherworldly? Maybe exquisitely beautiful and chiseled with utterly perfect features? When I Googled “angel face” I was bombarded with images of everything from cherubim statues to Marilyn Monroe to Michael Jackson. Fascinating!
In the above verse from the book of Acts, the people were gathered to pass judgment on Stephen— “a man full of God’s grace and power” (verse 8) who had been preaching up a storm and performing all sorts of miraculous wonders in the name of Jesus. There were disgruntled leaders, false witnesses, and a generally stirred up crowd all trying to find a way to convict Stephen of blasphemy or some such crime, but at the end of the passage the condemnation fizzles out momentarily with the words “they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
You can’t argue with that. And it wasn’t just a few who thought Stephen maybe looked a little angel-ish. They ALL looked intently and saw it. They were amazed, and surely had to know this man was on God’s business. He was on fire for Jesus— willing to do His will no matter what. Was he shiny and glowing and bright and beautiful? We’re not told the lovely details, but he was certainly different. He was certainly displaying the joy of the Lord visably.
The question is— what do people see in MY (or, if I may be so bold, YOUR) face? It’s a wee bit humbling to consider. Do they see Jesus? Do they see love and light and contentment and angel-ness? Or does the ugly— the judgmental, the bitter, the discontent, the impatient, the unloving— overshadow my features more often than it should?
I know my words are vitally important in my witness and testimony as a Christ follower, but I think my face plays a pretty important part in it all, too. The smile on my face has to reach my eyes to be genuine. Don’t you think? And others can tell what’s really going on a mile off by my countenance. What’s happening in my heart will surface on my face, especially when the mask of bravado/pride/I’ve-got-it-all-together cracks. And the mask will crack at some point, no matter how sparkly.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
We have so much we can say through our faces, and not just with our words. A little less scowling and frowning and some more genuine smiling and a set of understanding eyes wouldn’t go amiss, perhaps? And it starts with our hearts. That we might shine Jesus and maybe even show a glimpse of an angel face… for His glory! Always for His glory.
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