Summary: The Gospel of John tells us Isaiah saw Jesus' "glory." When did that happen, and what can it mean to us?
A preacher was showing his young daughter pictures from a book on famous art. They got to one of the famous paintings of Christ and, not wanting to mislead his child, the preacher gently explained "It's not really Jesus. It’s just an artist's conception of him."
The girl looked a long time at the picture… and then said “Well, it sure looks like him.”
In our text this morning, the Gospel of John explains that Isaiah has painted a picture of Jesus. And apparently Isaiah’s portrait of Jesus was dead-on.
John 12:39-41 tells us “… Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.’
Isaiah said these things because HE SAW HIS GLORY AND SPOKE OF HIM.” John was talking about Jesus… it was Christ’s GLORY that Isaiah saw and spoke of.
BUT WHEN exactly did Isaiah see that glory of Jesus? Well, let’s turn back to Isaiah 6. Isaiah 6:9-10 is what John quoted - about blinding eyes and hardening hearts, and it’s right before that… that Isaiah saw the GLORY of Jesus.
Isaiah 6:1 “In the year that King Uzziah died I (Isaiah) saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.”
He sees the Lord … and suddenly Isaiah realizes he is in TROUBLE. He says: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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!” Isaiah 6:5
But now, wait a minute… I don’t see anything in that passage about Jesus! All Isaiah SEEMS to see is the Lord. He’s high and lifted up, and He’s seated on a throne. Where’s Jesus? Well, the Gospel of John is telling us – THAT was Jesus! Surrounded by angels; seated on a throne; and fearsome enough to make Isaiah think He’s going to die. THAT was Jesus.
What is more - John is telling us (by telling us Isaiah saw GLORY) - that Jesus was God. Did you notice that Isaiah’s statement said “… my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Notice that word LORD? It’s in all capital letters. Whenever you see GOD or LORD in all caps, that’s the translators way of telling you this is the special name of God - Jehovah/Yahweh (depending on how you pronounce it). When Isaiah saw Jehovah, high and lifted up and seated on a throne - THAT was Jesus. Jesus was Jehovah – JESUS WAS GOD!!!
Now, you see that several times in Scripture (Jesus shown to be God). In Exodus, Moses asked God "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?"
Do you remember what God told Moses? “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14) God was telling Moses – my name is “I AM”!
Well, in John 8:58 Jesus said ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.’”
Jesus called Himself “I AM” – the name of God. And this wasn’t the only time Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM.” Whenever Jesus told people WHO He was He used an odd Greek phrase to describe Himself. That phrase was “Ego (I), eimi (I AM).”
It would be like me saying “I, I am, Jeff.” And Jesus said that a lot. For example, Jesus said:
“I - I am - the bread of life, he that comes to me shall never hunger.”
“I - I am - the light of the world, he that follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life”
“I - I am - the door. If any man enter through me he shall be saved.”
“I - I am - the good shepherd, the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
“I - I am - the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me - though he were dead, shall live.”
“I - I am - the way, the truth and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by me.”
“I - I am - the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.”
And in John 8:24 (Jesus literally says) “If you don't believe that ‘I am’ you will die in your sins.”
Jesus repeatedly said “I AM.” And when He did that He was identifying Himself as the God who met Moses at Burning Bush. That was HIS NAME! John 1:1 makes it even clearer when it says “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was God.”