“I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
I once heard of a small seminary that offered three New Testament survey courses. One course taught the four gospels. Another course taught all the books that were written as letters to churches or individuals. A third course combined what was left over: the books of Acts and Revelation.
That last course might sound like an odd combination, but the professor said it worked quite well because Acts and Revelation say essentially the same thing: Christ reigns! Acts proclaims, in narrative form, the story of Christ establishing his church throughout the world. Revelation proclaims that truth apocalyptically, with symbols and numbers and images that show Christ preserves his church and establishes his reign throughout the universe.
Just before he was martyred, Stephen saw a spectacular vision of the truth that Christ reigns. He saw Christ standing at the right hand of God, in triumph. This vision must have encouraged him greatly during the agony of his stoning.
We who follow Christ today are also given visions of Christ’s reign! Maybe we don’t actually see Jesus in heaven, but in story after story of people living for and serving their Lord, we see Jesus alive and well, reigning over his church and cosmos.
O Christ, in the faces and stories of your people we see what your Word proclaims: you are alive and well, reigning over this world and extending grace through your followers. Thank you! In your name we pray. Amen.
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