“Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 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 6.11-15
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.” Exodus 34.29-32
Acts 6 and Exodus 34 have much in common. Both involve men who were in God’s presence, living obediently to the Word of God, and both reflecting or radiating his glory.
In Acts 6, Stephen is arguably the leader of the newly appointed deacons. He was called by God because he was full of faith and the Holy Spirit. He was doing the work of the Lord, and because of this, he was facing persecution. And yet, in the midst of angry Jewish Sanhedrin men staring down at him and accusing him of falsehood, the text says ”his face was like the face of an angel.” In the center of criticism, in the den of the lions, he was radiating God’s glory.
Moses’ story is not dissimilar. Moses had been on Mount Sinai with the Lord receiving God’s commandments to the people. These were the Ten Commandments and not a small revelation. When Moses retreated from the mountain his face was glowing. The Hebrew transliterated word is ”qaran” meaning ”to send out rays.” Now consider that for a moment! I think of one of those Q-beams hunters use to spot game at night. It’s essentially a spotlight with 1000 lumens. It’s bright, impossible to hide, visible to everyone around. It wasn’t like they didn’t notice it until they got right up in his face. I imagine them seeing it from some distance. His face was aglow because he had met with God.
Both Stephen and Moses had glowing faces. One like an angel, and the other ”sending out rays.” Both faces were reflecting the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 13.12 comes to mind, ”For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Both men had an encounter with the Lord and their faces visibly reflected the ”face.” Why the ”face”? Because the face, in my opinion, is the window into the soul and not just the eyes. Body language experts will tell us that we can learn so much about a person by reading their face. Stephen and Moses had been with God and their faces proved it.
Last week I was surrounded by forty men who had radiant faces. We met with the Lord. The Holy Spirit was setting people free and falling upon us as we lay before the Lord in worship. Jesus was forgiving sins and the Father was affirming his sons. And even after that time, when we would greet each other, I would see glowing faces. Radiating with the power and grace of the Lord.
Is your face radiating? Go to God in prayer. Open up the Scriptures. Read his Word. Sing songs of praise on your back porch. Allow the One who redeemed Israel to restore your relationship with the Christ.
“O Lord God, I am in awe of your power and love. Thank you for using me. Thank you for caring enough to meet with your people, to bring salvation to a dry and thirsty land. Come Holy Spirit, fall upon us once again that we might be all you’ve called and created us to be. By your grace and for your glory. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen