The note on this verse is one I wrote in my Bible some time ago: “Usually Jesus is depicted sitting.”
Last summer I heard a sermon by my friend Andrew Wilson in which he talked about Isaiah 6:1:
Is never thought of it before, but he pointed out that the fact God was seated on the throne implied he had completed his work – he wasn’t up and about in his kingdom, sorting out problems, rushing here and there, managing his minions, he was totally in control.
So what does it mean to find Jesus here standing? I think if I were Stephen it would be a great comfort – not that God had somehow lost control, but that he was concerned with the things that concerned me. Standing implies readiness to act, perhaps eagerness to welcome Stephen, certainly an active interest in what was going on.
As a crowd is brought to its feet at the climax of an exciting football match, or as a host rises to greet an honoured guest, Jesus wasn’t sitting back in complacency, even though he was no less in control. He is actively concerned with our affairs. The things that move us move him. What an encouragement!