The Bible counsels us to be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58) and to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
When all those who sat in the council looked steadfastly on Stephen, a man full of the Holy Spirit of God, they saw his face, as if it had been of an angel (Acts 6:15). Some of the Jews that disputed with Stephen, unable to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke, lied against Stephen and accused him of blasphemy against Moses and God and sought his death before this council. Even when Stephen’s life was on death row, he used the opportunity to witness about Jesus Christ, the Just One, who justifies all who believe in Him by His blood (Romans 5:9). But those who heard him, resisted the conviction of the Holy Spirit’s that Jesus, spoken of by the prophets (whose voice they did not hear as well) is the Just One, whom they have now betrayed and murdered. This made those who heard Stephen furious and they gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55) and when he expressed this, the people who were furious cast him out of the city and stoned him to death.
Points to ponder:
When the people steadfastly looked at Stephen, who was full of the Holy Spirit of God, they saw his face to be like that of an angel. If the world was to steadfastly look at you and me, will they find our face angelic because of the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God in us?
On the other hand, Stephen’s focus was not on the people, who for all practical purposes had his life in their hands, but his focus was on God, in whose hands, he knew his life was. His focus was on life and not on impending death. He focus was on the Solver and not on the problems of life. His focus was steadfast (unwavering) into heaven, where he saw the glory of God and Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross, despising its shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). But did you note, that Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God and not seated down; as if, Jesus was giving Stephen a standing ovation for his unwavering faith and steadfast focus. Is your focus and mine, like that of Stephen’s; steadfast on Jesus?
Acts 6:15 (KJV)
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
Acts 7:55 (KJV)
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God
Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
2 Looking unto Jesus [steadfastly] the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.