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In Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, Jesus says to the High Priest, “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God.” In the Apostle’s Creed we confess, “On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of God.” That’s the common language of the church and in the Bible.

And yet what does Stephen see as stated at the end of Acts 7? “Behold I see the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Standing! Now you might think well what’s the difference? He’s seated, he’s standing. It’s not a big deal. But no, this language of being seated at the right hand of God is so common and almost liturgical that mentioning a standing Christ is surely here for a reason.

So why is Jesus standing instead of sitting?

It is for this reason: He has stood to receive Stephen’s testimony and to be his advocate. He has stood that he might come forward to be the judge of those who will trample upon God’s prophet. Jesus is rising from his throne to come to Stephen’s defense and to judge his persecutors.

It is the plain fact of Scripture, whether we want to believe it or not: everyone is appointed to die and after that this comes judgment (Heb. 9:27).

Jesus says in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon bringing my recompense with me to repay everyone for what he has done.” Everyone will stand before the throne to face the risen Christ. And it will not be a light thing. When you are there and you see the Son of Man, in all his glory and splendor and majesty and power, rise from his throne and stand before you, you will not laugh your way into heaven. You will not have a couple witty rejoinders and a little bit of snark and a few good one liners. He will not be impressed with all the reasons you have of why you ignored him: “You gave me bad parents!” “I didn’t know any better!” “My life was unfair.” When the Son of Man rises from his throne he will not consider our apathy, our disobedience, our unbelief to be a light thing in his presence. He is not a tame lion.

He stood to vindicate Stephen, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

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10 thoughts on “When Jesus Stands”

  1. Phillip says:

    “But he is nice.”

  2. Steven Waters says:

    Awesome post today – so encouraging and so powerful Pastor!

  3. David Axberg says:

    Amen and amen! And what was Stephen’s prayer and who was holding the coats. God Bless Now! So does Christ hear our prayers?

  4. Christy Keyton says:

    This story, with Jesus standing, is one of my favorites from the book of Acts. I cannot read it in devotions with my children in homeschool without crying. I just love it. What an awesome and wonderful savior we serve!

  5. Jessica says:

    Stephens story is one of my faves. Gives me chills, but also makes me tremble. Thank you for writing about him.

  6. anaquaduck says:

    Christ is not indifferent to the church’s situation…an awesome reminder & testimony.

  7. Janine Clark says:

    Hi, in my prayer time, I saw Jesus standing beside God but on Gods left hand side. Jesus then went into God and then I sat on Gods lap. God spoke to me. It was so beautiful. I am going through a huge trial at the moment with my abusive husband. My children were up on Gods lap with me. Then God made a fist and slammed it down onto his chair. I’m just wondering why Jesus was standing on Gods left hand side. Is this okay for this vision. Looking forward to hearing from you. Bless You, Janine.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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