v 31. Peter said ‘Then God put him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Saviour.’
The living Jesus has the place of honour in God’s Kingdom.
This chapter is full of well-known incidents in the life of the early Church. The salutary tale of Ananias and Sapphira comes as a warning about deceit in Christian living; the wise intervention of Gamaliel in preventing the deaths of the Apostles foreshadows the conversion of Saul (Paul) who was one of Gamaliel’s students (Acts 22:3), and open persecution of Jesus’ followers sets the pattern for several years and leads on to the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7.
Today however we are going to focus on another strand in the Apostles’ message. Once they had announced the news of Jesus’ resurrection the inevitable question would be ‘So, where is Jesus now?’ The answer is there even in Peter’s first sermon at Pentecost, “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand. ‘ Acts 2:32. Peter repeats that here – Jesus has ascended to be in the place of honour in the presence of the Father. Stephen proclaimed the same eternal reality whilst being stoned to death. ‘Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand !” ‘ Acts 7:55.
This is another essential element in preaching the Good News. We have a Saviour who not only died to rescue us from the consequences of sin, and then rose again to demonstrate His victory over sin and the grave, but also ascended to the throne of God and is in the place of power with Him. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews can then say ‘Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. ‘ The Christian message is not a history lesson but a message of hope as we wait for the return of Jesus.