Monday, October 17, 2011


"But he (Stephen), 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. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, (who was) calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:55-60).

Have you ever wondered why this passage of Scripture describes Jesus as standing? After all, the Word of God repeatedly says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Acts 2:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). I cannot help but wonder why this is the only time Jesus is said to be standing when seen in proximity of the throne of the Father. I have two theories, admittedly not supported by Scripture, but each helps me make sense of it.

My first though is that Jesus, seeing His faithful servant Stephen being stoned to death, stood up in anger, and thought about "coming to his rescue." I have always imagined the Father saying, "Not yet, My Son, it is not time to keep My children from harm. That will be done to save the Church from the Tribulation and My wrath, which will chastise the whole world." Remember, as a man, Jesus said He did not know the specific time that would occur (Mk. 13:32).

There are probably several reasons that thought is ridiculous, but I can think of a couple. One, Jesus is God, and as God, is of one mind with the Father and the Spirit. Because Jesus chose to take on human flesh and to live as a man, He chose to put aside His attributes of Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omniscience during His time on earth. During that time, He, as a man, did not know. But, since He had returned to His rightful place as God, He obviously knew it was not time for His return when Stephen was being stoned. Also, Jesus, now sharing the glory He had with the Father prior to His Incarnation (Jn. 17:1-5), knew Stephen would be stoned, and knew his attitude in death would bring conviction on those stoning him. I guarantee that if Jesus did not want it to happen, it would not have. Period!

My second theory, one that I believe is consistent with the character of God in His relationship with His children, is that Jesus stood to welcome Stephen home. Jesus knew, and so do we, that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him (2 Cor. 5:8). I can just picture Jesus standing with open arms, and saying to Stephen, "Welcome home My child. Well done My faithful servant!" I can't wait!

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