In the first 5 chapters of Isaiah, we find the prophet being given a number of visions of judgement, which he proclaims over the nation of Israel and the nations around him. Reading between the lines, we discover a zealous prophet. A judgemental prophet. A harsh prophet. And perhaps he is a merciless prophet.
But then in the 6th chapter, we read about Isaiah having a deeply personal encounter with God. He sees him in all his splendour. A vision of his holiness trailing like a gown flowing over his throne, and flowing down the throne steps, and over the throne room floor.,. And the presence of God’s holiness fills the room.
Suddenly he is convicted. God’s holiness permeates through his hardness of heart. Now, he knows, he is included among the sinful, and Isaiah cries out not only do I live among a sinful people; I too have sinful lips. Who will deal with my sin? And in his vision, he sees a raven, taking a hot coal, and placing it on his lips. Which purifies him of his sin.
When we turn to Nehemiah we discover a prophet who has learnt Isaiah’s lesson, and prays a prayer of confession. Lord, I confess my sin, my household’s sins, and my nation’s sins. And with this prayer, we read on to discover that this man of God, was used to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Fast forward again, to a scene where some fishermen have been working hard all night. Though they toiled hard all night, they hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus comes to them, and says, hey, you lot, throw your nets on the other side. Peter and John said, we have been working hard all night, but, on your say so, we will do it. I believe there is a lot of sarcasm happening here. They are seasoned fishermen. They don’t know Jesus – but, it would be obvious he wasn’t a fisherman. Think about it, fish swim under a boat. They swim across the boat. It doesn’t really matter what side of the boat, you drop a net. But, out of desperation, they do, and low and behold, they catch a net full.
Peters response is, Get away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man. And Jesus responds to Peter, come, leave your nets, follow me for I will make you fishers of men. He is not frightened of sinful people. Instead of fear, he embraces them and says, come, follow me, you will become fishers of men.
Let’s hold that story there for now and return to Isaiah. Isaiah began his ministry as a prophet who prophesied judgement, without mercy – until he had a revelation of his own sin. But, once he had a vision of his own sin and that it was dealt with, Isaiah went on to prophecy Christ. And we find those famous passages about the coming Christ in Isaiah 52 and 53 , the messiah, born of a virgin, dying on the cross for us as a sacrifice for our sins.
Isaiah prophesied that Christ would come. Jesus proclaimed he was the one. Peter proclaimed that the messiah had come.
What we are about to do this morning, is exactly what Jesus taught his disciples to do in remembrance of him. They went on to teach the church, this exact same thing. And the Apostle Paul likewise taught the church, to do what Jesus taught us to do. And this is the unbroken historical teaching we have received.
1 Cor 11: 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said,[f] “This is My body, which is[g] for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
And so this morning, let us take this bread and the juice, and together in doing so, lets proclaim, that Christ has died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again and as these elements touch our lips, let’s celebrate like Isaiah did, that our sins have been taken away.