Summary: This sermon looks at how you receive the power of the resurrection for your life
Receiving the Power of the Resurrection
There are certain days we remember where we were when we heard the news. Sept, 11, 2001. Or January 28, 1986 when the Challenger disaster happened. Or November 22, 1963 as word was sent out across the nation: “President John Kennedy is dead”. In each of these instances, a nation was plunged into grief and people flocked to churches. Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the sad announcement was made, “The King is Dead.” King Uzziah, the 11th King of Judah, who reigned for 52 years and brought stability to the nation, was dead. He accomplished more than any king since David. He defeated the Philistines and the Arabs. He rebuilt many cities. He created a great army and was able to fortify Jerusalem for its own defense. As a result, the people gained a great sense of security but that was lost now that he was gone. The prophet Isaiah was a statesman, who spoke for God to kings, including four who reigned during his life and ministry. Upon the news of Uzziah’s death, Isaiah’s heart was broken. Not only was his king dead but also his friend. This drove Isaiah to the Temple to worship and to seek comfort and hope in now uncertain circumstances.
While there, Isaiah had a vision and is taken into the Temple where only priests are allowed and then lifted up to the throne room of God. Isaiah is taken to one of the holiest places on earth. Jewish worship in the Temple was centered on the holiness and purity of God because God’s physical presence was thought to be there. The Temple wasn’t just a place for God’s people to gather and worship. Literally, you were going to the house of God to be in His presence. Thus, the holiness of those who came to the Temple was pre-eminent. Every person who came to the Temple would walk down into a mikvah, a ceremonial cleansing pool the size of a two person Jacuzzi, to be cleansed so they would not defile the Temple. The High Priest, the only person allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and offer sacrifices to Yahweh, had special purity and holiness expectations placed on him. The Levitical Priests had all types of holiness expectations placed on them covered in Lev. 21-22. As a result, the Jewish faith was built around the holiness of God and upon the spiritual cleanliness and holiness of God’s people because when you went to Temple, you were entering the presence of God. Isaiah goes to the Temple to be in the presence of God but little did he know that he would have an encounter with God.
We see the holiness of God. Isaiah looks up and sees God seated on a throne, high and exalted and the trail of God’s robe filling the Temple. He sees the seraphim, angels, flying around giving glory to the Lord singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty.” Repeating a word in Hebrew is a way to emphasize it. In the Hebrew language, if something is repeated twice, it was meant to be a comparative. But if something is repeated three times, it is a superlative, meaning it is beyond compare and there is nothing like it. Only God’s holiness gets this emphasis in Scripture, here and then again in Revelation 4:8. What do we really mean by holy? Literally, it means different or set apart. 1 Sam 2:2 declares, "There is no one holy like the Lord." In fact, there is nothing else like him in all the universe. We see two elements to God’s holiness here. First is His greatness. God is totally above and beyond us. He is great, grand, and majestic. We see this as just the train of his robe fills the Temple. In God’s presence, the Temple shook like an earthquake and filled with smoke, all pointing to the majesty of God. Second is the idea of purity. God has no blemishes and His nature, His love and His holiness is so pure and true. Now the seraphim are beings without sin yet they cover their face because they could not look upon the holiness of God and they cover their feet, because feet are considered to be unclean, so as not to defile God. His holiness is beyond compare.
Second, we see our sin. Being in the presence of God and seeing His majesty, power and holiness moves Isaiah beyond measure. Isaiah saw himself as he had never quite seen himself before. In the face of God’s holiness that fills the Temple and surrounds him, he sees his sin. Sin. Sin, it’s not a word we mention much in the church these days. We come up with different softer words for sin like he stumbled or she had a mistake. But this passage calls us to recover the biblical language of sin. Because sometimes, it’s the best language to describe the situation we find ourselves in. You made a decision you knew was wrong but you made it any way and now you find yourself living in the wake of all of the pain and suffering which comes with it. The problem with sin is that it usually starts with one small concession and then another and another before long, you find yourselves miles from God and who you thought you were. So Isaiah is confronted with His sin and cries out, “Woe is me!” as he comes to grip with the sin in his life. And when we find ourselves separated from God and from each other, because that’s the impact of sin in our lives, and we’re bearing the weight of remorse and pain and shame, Isaiah gives us perhaps the only language we need, “Woe is me,”