Devotion: 2015-05-25

The Throne of Christ

Isaiah 6:1-8

Each of the prophets in the Old Testament reports a “call vision,” where the Lord summons them to speak his Word.  It’s not always the first thing you read; sometimes it comes later in the book.  In the case of Isaiah, we read his call narrative in Isaiah 6. The prophet was likely someone familiar with life in the upper reaches of Jerusalem society.  And he was used to going to the temple according to the rituals laid down by the Lord through Moses.  But this time, in the temple, he sees through the earthly shadow to the heavenly reality, seeing the Lord sitting on the throne, surrounded by angels.

Who is Isaiah seeing?  Many Christians, without thinking things through, think it must be God the Father.  Yet John makes clear in his Gospel that no one has ever seen the fountain and source of divinity, the person of the Father (John 1:18).  Isaiah is seeing the Son in his glory, in a similar way to Peter, James and John on the mount of transfiguration (2 Peter 1:17-18).  This is the same Son who would take flesh of the virgin Mary and walk among us on earth.  This is the same Son who could have called on a legion of his Father’s angels to deliver him (Matthew 26:53), but instead chose to die for our sins.  The one on the throne speaks with the Father and the Spirit to call Isaiah to his mission: “Who will go for us?”

It might be tempting to assume the “us” is some kind of “royal we,” but that is a thing not known to the Hebrews.  It might also be tempting to see it as a reference to the angels.  But what angel would delegate their work to a human?  They, too, are workers on the Lord’s behalf.  The only conclusion is that this is another reference to the Triune nature of God, a God who is community and family in essence.

Divine Father, fill us with the Spirit that we be eternally tied to the Son who has washed us clean and given us eternal life.  Amen.