Throughout the New Testament, whenever we read of Jesus in Heaven, we read of Him sitting down. Sitting in the place of authority and greatest honour – at the right hand of the Father. It’s a place that Jesus alone deserves because of what He accomplished at the cross. He defeated the devil and all his evil angels, publicly putting them to shame, opening the way for human beings to be rescued from sin and guilt, and bringing us into relationship with Himself. After rising from the dead, He returned to Heaven, where He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, indicating that His redemptive work is done.
But there is one occasion in the New Testament where Jesus stands up in Heaven. A man called Stephen was on trial for being a believer in Jesus. At the end of his trial, Stephen – by the power of the Holy Spirit – looked into Heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. This so angered his accusers that they dragged him out of the city and brutally stoned him to death. Why did Stephen see Jesus standing rather than sitting? And is there any significance in that?
In Psalm 116:15 it says: ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints’. Jesus knows all things, including what will happen in the future. He is the only one who can accurately predict the future. Therefore, He knew that Stephen was about to be killed for his beliefs, and I think He was on His feet ready to welcome Stephen into Paradise. Jesus cares when His loved ones die. In John 14, He promised to prepare a place in Heaven for everyone who truly believes in Him. At the right time He will come for us if we love Him, and welcome us Home.
What a huge comfort this is! To know that Jesus Himself gets ready to welcome us into Heaven! This is amazing. What a wonderful Saviour!
This truth certainly comforted me last Friday morning when I learned that a little boy whose nickname was Dr Joseph had died. I have no doubt whatsoever that Jesus was on His feet with wide open arms, ready to welcome him Home. Dr Joseph had bravely battled with leukaemia for most of his eight years. He radiated his love for Jesus to those around him. When other children were admitted for painful treatments, Dr Joseph talked with them and calmed them down. Because he had endured those same unpleasant procedures, the children were comforted and given hope. And now Dr Joseph will never suffer or be in pain ever again, because he is with His Friend and Saviour, Jesus.
A family friend has written this glowing tribute to Dr Joseph.