and he said, “behold, i see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” [acts 7:56]
stephen sees Jesus. in this moment, he sees him with his eyes. but for a long time, he has seen the beauty of Jesus Christ in his heart, through the Holy Spirit. and he longs to proclaim it. do you long to proclaim it? do you have him on the tip of your tongue ready to proclaim his excellencies? if not, what are you proclaiming?
we all know we talk about what we love. whatever our treasure in life is, that is the thing (or person!) we will find ourselves always praising, always “selling” to others, always recommending, or always using to relate to others. it’s what we want others to “behold.”
so if you were given one chance at “behold”… what would come next?
would it be proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, having come to earth wrapped in human flesh, becoming obedient to the point of a gruesome death on a cross, conquering the grave and raising to life, only to be elevated with the highest honor, given all things to rule over forever?
would it be proclaiming that Jesus Christ has saved you from the uttermost darkness by paying the penalty for your sin? that by his blood, the Creator of heaven and earth has taken your heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh so that you can know him and be known by him, loved, forgiven, adopted, and freed from the bondage of sin and death?
would it be proclaiming that Jesus Christ is preparing for the day when all creation will be made new? that all the brokenness, all of the evil, all of the sadness, and all of the things that make us groan inwardly because we long with all of our being for it to be made well and whole, restored to its rightful purpose, will one day, in fact, be restored to its rightful purpose? that God himself will wipe away every tear of those who rest in the blood of Christ and cling to his goodness as their Lord, and that he will fill them with joy inexpressible for all of eternity in his presence?
church, we have seen far too much to keep silent. stephen spent his short-lived life as a believer proclaiming the excellencies of Jesus. and he spent his last moments doing the same. we talk about what we love. Jesus is far greater than any other treasure we could proclaim. what are we waiting for!
great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. one generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. they speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and i will meditate on your wonderful works. they tell of the power of your awesome works— and i will proclaim your great deeds. they celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. the Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. all your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. they tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. [psalm 145:2-12]
~ arwen eastman