"But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:55-56).
Stephen represents what a true Christian is supposed to be: one who is full of the Holy Ghost with eyes fixed on the Man in glory. He is one who mirrors that glory in such a way that all who see it will be amazed and filled with wonder. He is one with a steady gaze fixed on Christ, always looking up to him, fully occupied with a glorified Savior.
Look at the hopeless condition Stephen was in, surrounded by religious madness, superstition, prejudice, and jealousy. The angry crowd pressed in on him, wild-eyed and bloodthirsty, and death loomed just ahead of him. What impossible circumstances! But looking up into heaven, he beheld his Lord in glory, and suddenly his rejection here on earth meant nothing to him. Now he was above it all, seeing him who was invisible.
One glimpse of the Lord's glory, one vision of his precious holiness, and Stephen could no longer be hurt. The stones and the angry cursing were all harmless to him because of the joy set before him. One glimpse of Christ's glory places you above all your circumstances. Keeping your eyes on Christ, consciously reaching out to him every waking hour, provides peace and serenity as nothing else can.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). Stephen caught the rays of the glorified Man in heaven and reflected them to a Christ-rejecting society.
How true that we become what we behold. The proper translation should read, "We all, with open face mirroring the glory, are changed!" The idea is that the Christian reflects, like a mirror, the glory on which he gazes continually. It is we who are "in the glass"a mirrorlooking on Christ, the object of our affection and becoming like him in the process of beholding.
When the enemy comes in like a flood and troubling circumstances get us down, we need to both amaze and condemn the world around us by our sweet, restful repose in Christ. Since we see by our spiritual mind, this is accomplished by keeping our minds stayed on Christ.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon