Stephen was dragged into the council room, placed before the court, and asked questions about Jesus. He answered by opening the Scriptures and giving the chief priest and elders a lesson from their own history, from Abraham to Joseph to Moses to David. He then accused these “stiff-necked people” of following in the footsteps of their forefathers. “As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?” (Acts 7:51-52). Their fathers killed the prophets, the council killed the Son of God, and now for his insolence, they would put Stephen to death.
As they picked up stones to throw at him, Stephen looked up, and heaven was opened; and “full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).
Go back a couple months to the night before the cross. Jesus was on trial in the same council room, before the same court, and the high priest asked if he was the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus made it clear, “From now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:69). Except he wasn’t seated now, he was standing. Stephen endured the wrath of the council to stand faithful before his Savior. Now his Savior returned the tribute, standing for him, perhaps applauding, for Stephen performed not for the world’s acclaim, but for an audience of one.
My Lord and my God, You have my allegiance. I am Your ambassador, and will stand on earth and represent You with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. I love You that much. At least I want to. My love fails at times, but You never fail, so strengthen me. I will stand, but please pick me up when I fall, hold me when I weaken.
You began a good work in me, and I trust You to complete it. May I cast aside anything that slows or stops the progress. I long to see You standing, to hear You say, “Well done.”