54When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. 55But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. Acts 7:54-60
Throughout June I have been preaching on different visions in the scriptures. We looked at two from the Old Testament (the Call of Isaiah and the Valley of the Dry Bones) as well as two from the New Testament (Peter’s vision on the rooftop and Paul’s conversion). Each of these visions teach us more about God. If you are interested in these sermons, you can click here for a link to our worship services.
Today’s scripture from Acts is a different kind of vision. Stephen, as he is dying, sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He has a death vision, or as I often put it, the veil between this world and the next is opened as Stephen enters into Heaven.
If you have stood by the bedside of someone dying, you may have seen this – they might be looking intently off in the distance, and even having conversations. I have seen this many times, both in my role as Pastor and with family members. While it is primarily a comfort to those about to pass, it is also a sign for us – that God continually walks with us and will guide us to the next life.
Jesus said “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:2-3). This is a promise of comfort to us.
As you journey through this week, know that God is with you.