by Pat Cooper
April 08, 2019
Among the prophets of old, Isaiah is perhaps the most beloved and for good reason. If you will, allow your imagination a moment to drift back about 27 centuries with me. You are standing in the man of God’s chambers, peering over his shoulder as he dips his well-used quill in the ink tank. He has been sitting in the same place for hours, quiet as a mouse. You notice his head tilt slightly as if inclining his ear to identify a voice speaking through the silence. With calm and deliberate strokes, his steadying hand begins to move the ancient writing instrument across the parchment in rhythmic motion as to keep time with the dancing shadows cast over it by the old oil lamp perched about half an arm’s length away. What appears odd shaped scratches to you and me are actually letters. Letters become words, words becoming sentences:
In the year that King Uzziah died…
— Isaiah 6:1
As the Hebrew characters become intelligible, a sweeping wind blows your thoughts into the very throne room of the eternal one, for a moment you are there. Through the prophet’s pen, your eyes behold God; high and lifted up, exalted. His train filling the temple you see his majesty, behold his glory, and are allowed to taste his holiness. Seraphim move effortlessly through the open air above, chanting and crying out in endless refrain:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!
— Isaiah 6:2
Almost immediately you realize you are at a place where you don’t belong, seeing what you have no right to see. You are unworthy to even be near such holiness. Quickly you turn the page and are then peering into a distant tomorrow with its future headline of a virgin conceiving and bearing a son. Turning the page again you leap forward some 700 years. You are standing crib-side where “a child is born, a son is given, he is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah smiles big, his eyes are wide with joy; Jesus the Messiah has come, “and of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”
Suddenly though, Isaiah’s expression is altered. There is a bewildering change of direction in the story, a paradigm shift. Tears begin to form in the old prophet’s aging eyes, but he continues to write, and you continue to read:
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
— Isaiah 53:5
Isaiah sees the promised one, Messiah, Israel’s great hope; his blood poured out before God a drink offering. Surely, he wept bitterly.
For you and I today, the lifeblood of Jesus spilled on the altar of sacrifice, the cross, has turned away the wrath of God being accepted as payment in full for the sin he did not commit, my sin and yours. He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and wounded to heal us. But please understand: his torturous travail was not for purposes as would be more appealing and attractive to the senses; to remove difficulties, hardships, pain, suffering and other such maladies from the Christian experience. But to make it possible to stand in God’s presence by delivering those who will follow him from the curse of sin and its due wages:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23
Have you received your free gift yet? If not, you can unwrap it today, right now. You can touch base with us (see the info below) or read and apply these easy to follow instructions:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
— Romans 10:9–10
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