The ancient books were not ancient to Jesus.
To Him they read like a morning news feed does for us. Writing in the past about the future, a reporter named Isaiah told the story as he saw it. Imagine how it affected Jesus when He read what we know as Isaiah chapter six—the prophet’s report on his visit to the throne room of God.
Jesus knew the place well for it had been His “Zion”—His dwelling and ruling place. It was important for Isaiah, engaged as an historian for the palace, to see the majesty of the King of Heaven. In time, he would also see Messiah as a suffering servant, a lamb slain for the sins of the world, a wounded healer, a man ridiculed by those who should have loved Him, and rejected by His own to whom He came but who received Him not. As he looked at the shrinking crowds, Jesus remembered the report of Isaiah.
“I have seen the King.”
Somehow in that time-flexible place in the Spirit of God where prophets do their work, Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord. He saw the Lord on the throne of Heaven, surrounded by thousands of angels in joyful assembly. He saw the glory of His majesty like a robe of light, filling the temple. He heard the music of heaven, octaves higher and lower than he had ever heard before with rhythms at once more pounding and profound and complex than any pattern of earth. So great was the music that the doorposts of heaven shook in sympathetic vibration.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
This vision of heaven was both thrilling and profoundly disturbing. Isaiah was honored to be granted entrance to such a place but he was also stricken to the heart with his own unworthiness. He had no right to be there. His own sins buried deep in his heart and in his record roared in his ears louder than the worship all around him. The hammer of justice pounded in his mind drowning out the rhythms of the music all the angels produced.
His confession was an involuntary spasm.
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
One of the angels flew to the altar before the throne and with tongs extracted a live coal from the fire. Winging his way to the weeping prophet, he thrust the coal to Isaiah’s lips. It burned with a fire that did not injure; it was a healing touch. In an instant, his sins were purged from his mind and from his record. The pounding in his mind quickly faded and in its place was a still, small, yet commanding voice.
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
His grief gone, his sorrow departed, his mission was now clearly seen.
“Here am I! Send me.”
Remembering Isaiah’s Words
As people continued to turn away from Him, Jesus remembered Isaiah’s words. The people had heard His voice but not His truth. They had received His gifts while rejecting Him. All of this was unfolding just as the ancient book had said it would.
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes,
lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
John 12: 37-41
But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Lord Jesus, if You never answered another prayer, if I never felt Your presence again in my life, I would never turn away from You. How it must have hurt deep in You to see the people You loved so much give up and turn back. Isaiah’s words were a warning to You. You knew it would happen, yet it still had to hurt so much. There have been times when I turned away, preferring some momentary diversion instead of Your sweet presence. I asked You to forgive and You did. Save me from such nonsense ever again!
I Will Follow Thee
Words: Johnson Oatman; Music: Edwin O. Excell
1. Savior, I will follow Thee; Thou art all the world to me;
Tho’ the way I cannot see, Savior, I will follow Thee.
Follow Thee, I will follow Thee, Follow Thee, I will follow Thee;
Follow till the day is done, Follow till the crown is won,
Savior, I will follow Thee.
2. Savior, I will follow Thee, Tho’ it lead me to the cross;
Counting all things here but dross, Savior, I will follow Thee.
3. Savior, I will follow Thee,Tho’ it lead through toil and tears;
Through the long and weary years, Savior, I will follow Thee. .
4. Savior, I will follow Thee Till the toils of life are o’er;
Till I reach the golden shore, Savior, I will follow Thee. .
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved