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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

7:56 Son of man. Jesus had called Himself “the Son of man” at least eighty times, but this is the first time one of His disciples used the title. It had stressed, by implication, the universality of His ministry, and Stephen now emphasized it evidently for the same reason. Furthermore, the vision reported by Stephen must certainly have reminded them of the very similar circumstances of Jesus’ trial and conviction just a few weeks previously. He had said to them: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). Now, at Stephen’s trial, he was thus confirming the claim (and supposed blasphemy) of Jesus, thereby giving them an immediate excuse to slay him too. In addition, it would remind them of their frustration at being unable to produce the dead body of Jesus to stop the preaching of His resurrection. His body was alive and in heaven at the right hand of the Father. No wonder they were furious and proceeded forthwith to stone Stephen, not even going through Herod or Pilate, as they had with Jesus.

7:56 standing. Jesus is often presented as sitting at the right hand of God, acting as our Intercessor and Advocate (e.g., Acts 2:34; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1). Normally, the defense counsel remains seated in the presence of the judge, rising only to make objection when his client comes under especially severe attack or misrepresentation. Thus it is significant that Stephen saw Him standing at God’s right hand.

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