Have you ever been in the presence of someone very important, someone you deeply admired? Did you feel awestruck, intimidated or speechless? Would you have felt overwhelmed and unworthy if that person had stood up to greet you when you entered the room?
In Mark 16:19 after Jesus spoke to His disciples, He ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
However, Acts 7:55-56 tells us that Stephen, right before he was stoned, "looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'"
The Bible doesn't explain why Jesus was standing, but I would like to suggest three reasons that I believe are in harmony with Scripture.
First, our Lord loved Stephen.
How many of us, as imperfect as we may be, could watch our children or someone else we love suffer and not be affected? Could we sit back and not try to alleviate the suffering or to intervene in some way? The closer we are to someone, the more we hurt when that person hurts. How must our Lord feel when He allows His children to be wounded on the battlefields of life? Second Corinthians 1:3 refers to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort," and Jesus said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). The Lord cared about Stephen so much that He stood right before His precious servant who was stoned. He also cares about us.
Second, our Lord stood because of His investment in Stephen.
When we make an investment, we care about what happens to it. When we invest our lives in being godly parents, teachers and role models for our children, we definitely are affected by their subsequent stand for God. In Acts 7:59-60, as Stephen was being stoned, he emulated our Lord by praying, "'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'" Is it any wonder that our Lord stood when His investment in Stephen's life came to fruition?
Third, our Lord stood to honor Stephen.
In our world when a person who holds a high rank or position wants to honor someone he stands when that person enters his presence. I believe our Lord stood because He was about to receive Stephen's spirit and honor him. Psalm 116:15 states, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Stephen's life and death were a shining testimony of his faith and commitment to his Lord and Savior.
Just as our Lord stood to honor Stephen at his death, so He will do for all of His children who faithfully and obediently serve Him.
"Therefore, . . . stand firm . . . because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
© by Howard W. Stevens