Summary: While we lie down in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm, the Good Shepherd may not seem to notice us — we are safe; but when the sheep are among the wolves of Matthew 10:16, the Good Shepherd will run to their help — they are in danger.
“[God] raised [Christ] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places… . He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” - Ephesians 1:20–23
In Mark 16:19 after Jesus spoke to His disciples, He ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
God’s right hand is the place of “highest favor with God the Father”,
and the phrase is used throughout Scripture to indicate His power and sovereignty (Ex. 15:6; Isa. 48:13). To say that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father is to say, as John Calvin explains, that “Christ was invested with lordship over heaven and earth, and solemnly entered into possession of the government committed to Him
— and that He not only entered into possession once for all, but continues in it, until He shall come down on Judgment Day”
( Ligonier Ministries, Inc.)
If Jesus is seated in His Throne of Power,throne of Grace and mercy...
Then, God who is in control, saying “It is Finished!”, why did once in the whole of the New Testament He stood up? Only Once!
Just in this text....
A little child in white was playing in the park. As long as she ran about on the grass, the nurse took little notice of her — she was safe. Presently the little feet chose a path leading down to the water, and the good nurse was after the little one in a moment — she was in danger. While we lie down in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm,
the Good Shepherd may not seem to notice us — we are safe;
but when the sheep are among the wolves of Matthew 10:16,
the Good Shepherd will run to their help — they are in danger.
The main character in our text for today is Stephen, (died 36 AD?)
a Christian deacon in Jerusalem and the first Christian martyr, whose defence and discourse of the history of God’s dealings with the people of Israel was charged with speaking against Moses, against God, against the temple, and against the law and the customs handed down by Moses (6:11. 13, 14) by the Sanhedrin and the elders of Israel.
While overall his message shows the charges to be false, it is more a sermon on them that traces God’s historical dealings with Israel, Israel’s history of rebellion against God, and a climax that indicts his hearers of the very charges that they were bringing against him. They were guilty of rejecting Moses and the law, and worst of all... they had just killed the Righteous One whom God had sent for their salvation; (...until the appointed time arrived, God sent forth his Son, born from a woman, born into a culture in which legalistic perversion of the Torah was the norm. —Galatians 4:4 CJB).
the scene is a most impressive one.
The howling mob; the reverend officials, borne away from all their proprieties by fanatical excitement;
He was subsequently stoned to death outside of the city because of his apology about Jesus, saw heaven opened and the Son of Man standing on His throne of glory! And Saul, later on was called Paul, was a witness to all of what was happening. The event in the eyes of Paul which he later wrote in this book of Acts. It is hardly to be doubted that Paul preserved the record of these incidents; and we may realize how such a cry from the persecuted Nazarene, as we have in the text, would fix itself in the thought and memory of one so religious and so impulsive as Paul. It would be most vividly recalled to mind when he too was smitten down with the glory on the Damascus road, and he, himself heard the voice of Jesus, the risen and exalted One.
Evidently the thing that most impressed Paul was Stephen's firm conviction that the crucified Jesus was risen, living, exalted, glorified, Divine. However intensely Paul resisted this conviction at first, it had more power on him than he estimated.
Stephen, a man full of the HolySpirit and a man full of revelations
( Acts 6:3-5; 7:55 ). One of the seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom appointed to mind business of serving at the tables of neglected widows in the daily ministration of food.
Such a humble task! What a menial job, for many of us! But was given such an ovation from the God of heaven Himself!
He saw heaven opened and saw the Son of Man standing!
The Day Jesus stood up...