Friends, I’m sure many of you are watching the Cavs and the Warriors go at it in the NBA Finals. These games have a lot of intensity, even for the fans. It’s not uncommon for someone to rise out of their seat when their team makes an amazing dunk or hits the game winning shot. Likewise, when a child does well in a talent show, or a play, we react with a standing ovation as an encouragement to their performance.
The other day I was playing some Bible trivia with a friend and I was stumped on a question. It involved Jesus’ response to the martyrdom of Stephen. How did Jesus react to this? What was His posture like? I’m going to discuss this and why it is so important to understand.
Stephen, The First Martyr
Stephen is an important hero in the Holy Bible. He accomplished an amazing feat by becoming the first Christian martyr. He was just so committed to his faith. By this I mean he literally was on fire for Jesus Christ. He worked great miracles and wonders (Acts 6:8), and the Holy Bible even tells us the people were not able to resist the spirit and wisdom by which he spoke (Acts 6:10).
Stephen was so committed to his faith in Jesus Christ, that even when the people accused him of blaspheming God and Moses (Acts 6:13), he stuck to his guns and continued to speak the truth (Acts 7:1-53). The people were so angry they gnashed their teeth (Acts 7:54) and stoned him (Acts 7:59).
The Standing Ovation
Wait! Rewind! Something amazing happened right before Stephen was stoned. Jesus was standing at the right hand of God ready to accept him. Wait? Say what? Yes, Jesus stood up from His throne to receive Stephen, the first martyr. You could say He gave him a standing ovation for the great work he had done. Isn’t that amazing? It’s so significant that it’s even repeated twice! Let’s take a look.
Acts 7:55-56 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, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
The is profound. This is the only place in the Holy Bible where you will find Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Every other instance has Him seated.
The Right Hand of God
Just to bring home the point I’m trying to get across, let’s look at some scripture.
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God
Luke 22:69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus 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.
As you can see, Jesus is always sitting at the right hand of God. Yet, the testimony and the martyrdom of Stephen brought Him to His feet! Wow!
Could it be that Christ stood up to encourage such behavior? I believe so. I believe our Lord wants us to be diligent in spreading His word even if it costs us our life. Stephen wasn’t afraid and neither should we. We need to boldly proclaim our faith and risk it all for the one who gave it all for us.
In addition, it’s important to understand that Jesus Christ is there for us and cares about us. He may allow something to happen to you that seems terrible, even death, but in the end He is ready to receive you into His kingdom.
Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Friends, there are many missionaries risking their lives everyday to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We too need to be missionaries and take chances to spread the word. Let’s face it, we can’t afford not to. Holding back your faith isn’t just putting limitations on yourself, but it’s holding back opportunities for others to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and receive eternal life. Also, please don’t forget to pray for the Christian missionaries and martyrs who have put it all on the line to spread the truth. Thank you for reading and God bless.
What is something you can dedicate yourself to that would get Jesus out of His seat?