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. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “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!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:1-8 ESV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 ESV
One New Year’s Eve at King Arthur’s court, all the knights of the Round Table were gathered together feasting when a strange-looking knight came into the hall. He was large and strong, and dressed all in green. The Green Knight had a very strange challenge for King Arthur and his knights. He would allow one of them to strike him with his own axe, but in one year this same knight would have to allow the Green Knight to do the same thing to him. This seemed like such a strange thing that the king and his knights were silent, and the Green Knight started to make fun of them and call them cowards. Then King Arthur stood up to accept the challenge, but before he could do that one of his bravest knights, Sir Gawain, stood up and told his king, “Let me take this challenge for you!” It would be an honor for him to serve his king in this way.
Isaiah was a prophet of the Lord, and he started his work when God called him in a vision. In this vision Isaiah was in the temple, and he saw God’s throne, and he saw seraphim, a kind of angel that surrounds God on his throne and constantly praises him. The whole temple was filled with smoke, and the ground shook. Isaiah was terrified. He knew he was a sinner, and he was in the presence of the holy God. He also knew that he was part of a group of people who were sinful. He knew he deserved to die, but one of the seraphim took a burning coal from the temple altar and touched Isaiah’s lips. This was to show Isaiah that his sins were taken away and that he was forgiven. After this happened, God asked whom he could send to do his work. Just like Gawain in the story, Isaiah said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah was full of joy to know his sins were forgiven, and he knew it was a privilege to serve the King of Heaven.
When God wanted to save the whole world from sin and death, the one he sent was Jesus, his only Son. Jesus came into the world to carry out the most important mission of all. His mission took him to the cross, where he died so that our sins could be taken away and we could be forgiven. Because of Jesus, we have the same joy Isaiah had. When God has work for us to do, it is an honor for us to do what he asks. We can say with Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me.” We know that God will be with us and help us always for Jesus’ sake.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us so that our sins are forgiven and we can have the joy of serving you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.