‘You have a responsibility to your face when you are over 40 years old.’ I wondered who said this, I googled it and found out that US president Lincoln said this. What this quotation means that we have to make our faces ourselves after 40 years old. In fact, when we reach at this age, the inner face reflect on our outward face regardless of our actual appearance. It should be true that the face of people who appreciate everything will be different from that of people who complain about everything. What kind of face do you want to have? I wish that I have a gracious face, but not greedy face. When I become older, it will be nice to hear.
As we saw, the face of Stephen was “like the face of an angel”. Although we didn’t see an angel, we still have an image of the angel. “Like an angel” means that you are good or beautiful. Or our face would be in all splendor. Thus, I also want to have this kind of face personally. I hope that your face also be like the face of an angel. The older you grow physically and spiritually, the more you look like the face of an angel.
As we know, however, our face may be far away from the face of an angel. This is true for me. Although we have a strong hope to have like the face of an angel, our face may be quite different from the face of an angel. Instead, our face might be full of worry and anxiety. Sometimes we are full of fear in our face. We may worry about tomorrow. We may worry about the food and clothes. We fear tomorrow. Those kinds of fear and anxiety will be shown in our face. In addition, our greed may be in our face. Anger will be shown in our face. Yes. we may have an anger to the irrationalities of society and to the unfair society, which will be shown in our face. All of these are our inner face, which will change our outward appearance. Thus, our face may not be like the angel’s face.
How about our face as a Christian? We need to have this kind of question. What kind of face do we want to have? I hope that you have this kind of question in your mind. We should consider our inner face rather than our winkles or though skin in our outside face.
Thus, the face of Stephen should be very special because his face was like the face of an angel. We can interpret that his face represented his inner face. In his mind, he was filled with Jesus Christ. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was filled with God’s grace.
Let’s read ver. 8.
“Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.”
The wonders and signs were performed by the Apostles as we seen. Although he was a new believer, he could perform these kinds of wonders and signs. This shows that his outward face was not proportional to the year how many years he spend at the church.
What kind of the face of a person who is full of God’s grace and power?
What kind of the face of a person who is with God?
What kind of the face of a person who works with God?
The face of a person is like the face of an angle. One’s face will be full of joy and God’s power.
We can image the face of Stephen once we read verses 9 and 10.
“Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.”
Yes, Stephen was full of God’s wisdom and Holy Spirit. Although he faced problems in his life, he could solve it easily with God’s wisdom. What kind of face he had? He would have the face of the winner. However, the reason why his face was special is found from ver. 11 through 14.
“Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God." So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
As we read, so called the intelligent people acted cowardly once they could not stand up against Stephen’s wisdom. They secretly persuaded some men. They produced false witness. Who were they? They would serve God. They would say about the justice. They would be the religious leaders. They would say that they worked for God. They might say that they kept Moses’ teaching. What face did they have? What would be your face when you see these kinds of people? Do you have an angry face? Do you have a pathetic face? Do you have a scorn face?
At this situation, what face of Stephen was? His face was like the face of angel! He was in front of people who tried to kill him. No anger in his face. No worry was in his face. No anxiety was in his face. No fear was in his face. His face was a faithful face like the face of angel.
What kinds of jobs for the angel in the bible? Angles deliver the message of God’s word, the Truth. The man who has the angel’s face was lived by the words of God. What about the face of others who tried to kill Stephen? It would be clear that their face will be unlike of the face of Stephen. They had like the face of a devil.
What face do you want to have? Stephen’s face? Religion leader face? Of course, your face should be like the face of Stephen.
As we learned, the reason for why Stephen’s face like the face of an angel is that he was full of Holy Spirit regardless of his situations. This is a secret why his face is like the face of an angle.
Leonardo da Vinci, when he draw the picture of the last supper. He tried to find a person who sing a song at the chorus as a model of Jesu. Leonardo thought that the face of model was like the face of Jesus. His name was Peitro Bandi Neri. And Leonardo drew the other disciples’ portraits in his art. Last person he drew was Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans. The major of Roman suggested him to select a person who condemned criminal. Finally Leonardo was able to finish his artwork. The condemned person asked a question to Leonardo.
“Sir, do you recognize me?
Leonardo wondered who he was. He introduced himself, ‘I am Peitro Bandi Neri’
Actually the model of Jesus and Judas Iscariot in the artwork was the same person. What we learn here is that his face was completely changed what content he contained in his inner face. Actually, there is no face like an angle or a devil. Your face is now your responsibility.
We have encountered so many things in our life. Don’t be worry. Worry could not change anything. When we are in trouble, what we do is to remember God’s promise as we read in the today’s responsive reading. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The face of people who believe in God should be different from the face of people who are full of worries.
Be the face of a person who tries to keep the God’s word. Be the face of a person who appreciates any situation. Be the face of a person who gives thanks to God. Be the face of a person who prays to the Lord. Our face should be also like the face of an angle.
Let’s change our face like Stephen who a man full of God’s wisdom and power. In any situation, in any moment, he was full of Holy Spirit. I pray that our face will be like the face of an angle.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we pondered the face of Stephen. Whatever the situation he kept his faith. He was the man full of Jesus, Holy Spirit, Wisdom, and grace. We will live like him. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen!