He Stood Up

by Richard W. Webb

Standing and Sitting

I want to share a few words with you about standing, and about sitting. First let me mention that there is a third action, walking, which could be included here. In fact, my pastor often brings up Psalms 1:1 as the way to avoid sin: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” And there’s a wonderful little book about Ephesians, compiled from the spoken ministry of Watchman Nee, and titled Sit, Walk, Stand. In fact, I’ve been toying with the idea of combining these two ideas into a short essay; perhaps . . .

Anyway, if you do a word search for stand and stood in the Bible, you’ll find a number of places where the word appears. Sometimes the idea is to stand, or hold, fast: phrases like stand fast, stand before God, and stand for God convey some of this sense. Consider these words from Ezekiel 22:29-31: “The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.” I wouldn’t say that standing was a commandment, but there are times when we are called upon to stand.

Sometimes to stand is to stand idly and wait, instead of to act. All the men in the parable of the workers who worked varied times but earned the same wages were first found standing, with nothing to do. Sometimes it is a good thing to stand and wait, and other times it is not.

Sometimes. too, to sit is to sit idly and wait, instead of to act; this, too, may be a good thing or a bad thing. What else does the act of sitting bring to mind? Some people, some times, sit in judgment. We may sit to dine with others. We may sit to listen or to watch: a movie, a concert, a sermon, etc. In the Bible you will read a statement that so and so, the son of king such and such, sat upon the throne of his father; in this way the succession of kings is portrayed. And Acts 20:9 tells of the dangers of sitting on a window ledge, especially when the preacher is long winded.

What About Jesus?

But what about Jesus? He stood. He stood against satan, and he stood against people who valued religion over human worth and dignity. And he encouraged the disciples to stand, also.

Even after the crucifixion and the resurrection, he stood. For example, in John 20:19 we find this passage: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” And because Thomas missed this, we find that (John 20:26) “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto  you.”

What About Us?

And what has he promised for us? Read Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Didn’t He Ever Sit Down?

Oh, yeah, he sat from time to time. Of course. But his ministry was mainly one of standing, and teaching us to stand.

But finally it was time for Jesus to leave this world and return to the Father in heaven, and when he left from here, and got there, he sat. We see this in several passages. In Mark 16:19 we read, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” Hebrews 1:3 reveals this thought: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” And in Revelation 3:21 we find these words: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his  throne.”

This sitting is, in fact, foretold in Psalms 110:1: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And again in Luke 22:67-69 we read “Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”

Certainly Jesus earned the right to sit. Consider the life he lived on this earth, and you can’t deny the fact that he gave everything for us. After all that, he deserves a chance to sit.

What About Stephen?

Sometimes we stop there, and think of Jesus as forever sitting at the right hand of the Father. But wait! Take the time to grab your Bible and read a rather long passage that starts in Acts 6:1 and concludes in Acts 8:4. Here we find the testimony of one Stephen. The church was growing, and the disciples needed some helpers, some people to do the dirty work (or so we might consider it!) serving tables and ministering to the widows, leaving the disciples free for the ministry of prayer, and of the word.

Stephen was one of several appointed to the task. He had the necessary qualifications. He was honest, and wise, and full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. Stephen and his fellow workers did the job well, and with their help the ministry grew. And Stephen did not content himself with quietly serving. Led by the Spirit he performed wonders and miracles.

And he witnessed! Boy, did he ever! Read his words to the council after he was wrongly arrested. They take 50 or so verses of the seventh chapter of Acts. And what was his reward for this witness? The council cast him out of the city, and stoned him to death.

Where Was Jesus?

So where was Jesus when this happened? Was he sitting on the right hand of the Father, waiting idly for Stephen to show up? No, sir. Read those words over to the right on this page, and repeated here: “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.”

Did you catch that? Jesus was no longer sitting. He stood up! He heard Stephen down there, fearlessly and faithfully telling people who should have already known about the goodness of God. And he couldn’t stay seated. He stood up to get a closer look, and to hear a little better. But mainly he stood up to give Stephen encouragement. Did it work? I’ll say it did! Yes, they stoned him, and he died. But he knew what that meant, and where he was headed. He was prepared as well as encouraged. His last act was to ask for forgiveness for those who were murdering him.

And you can’t help but wonder what kind of effect that witness had on that fellow Saul, who stood guard over the cloaks of the mob that threw the stones. Saul? Do you mean that Saul? You bet. But don’t take my word for it; see Acts 22:20.

What About Me?

I don’t want to go through what Stephen went through for Jesus. But what if I have to? Can I do it? Am I ready? Could I be as loving and forgiving as Stephen? Can I even compare to that other side of Stephen, the man who took on the tasks that others might have considered to be beneath them? I don’t know.

But I know one thing. I’m glad I serve a Savior who sits at the right hand of God the Father. And I’m even more glad that I serve a Savior who, when I need him the most, when things are going as wrong as they can possibly go, and then get worse, won’t be content to sit idly and wait, but will stand, and cheer me on. He’ll stand for me, and stand with me.

What About You?

And he’ll do the same for you, if you’ll only accept him.

Copyright © 2003 by Richard W. Webb
Published by SoaringSpiderSongs
All Rights Reserved



Acts 7:55-56 — [55] 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, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Job 19:25 — For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

Ephesians 2:4-6 — [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

1 Samuel 3:10 — And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.