7 centuries, 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, Isaiah was giving us detail surrounding not only His coming, the forerunner announcing His coming, His life, His death, His resurrection, His return and His millennial reign.
All these things captured by this one man unlike anyone else. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Gospel of John chapter 12 as he begins his message, Isaiah, the Prince of Vision. And there in John chapter 12 verse 41, we read, These things Isaiah said when he saw his glory and spoke of him. And then Luke's Gospel chapter 4 verse 17, and he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written. And then it goes on to say, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Well, I have chosen those two verses because the character whom we are considering in the presence of Christ is Isaiah the prophet. And in John 12 verse 41, the verse, which is our text, is a comment added to the events taking place by John. It is an admission that Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament.
And let's look into the life a little bit. But this endorsement from John chapter 12 41 is the highest endorsement a prophet could ever receive. That Isaiah, what he saw was right coming from Jesus Christ. Who would not want the Lord to say, Everything that my servant, insert your name there, has said to you concerning me is correct. There is no greater approval for a prophet. Blessed with this vision and the title of the message is Isaiah the Prince of Vision. Of all the prophets before Jeremiah, before Ezekiel, before Daniel came along, there was Isaiah preceded by or at least contemporary with Amos, Micah, and Hosea, Joel.
God is constantly at war with evil and it comes out in his prophecies, comes out throughout the scriptures. But I think it's very unique how Isaiah brings out this message of judgment, of comfort, of justice, of intolerance, of peace. He brings it out again, as I said, in a very unique way. And this realization is incomplete in anyone who does not know Jesus Christ as Lord. Now that's important. As you consider the prophet Isaiah as a New Testament Christian, if you are born again, you sort of latch on to the things that are being said about him in the New Testament or the quotations from him in the New Testament, even if you don't know who he is.
Because you know Jesus, you are attracted to what is being said. And vision is more than just something that the individual sees. It is what they are shown.
Of course, who is showing them? False vision, a vision from the devil. It's very important to know that it's from him and it is, of course, to be rejected. But when God gives vision, when he gives insight, when he lets us see things, it is more than simply we see it, not that our curiosity needs to be satisfied, but that the Lord has chosen to show it. Which means it comes with a responsibility to whomsoever much is given, much is required.
It comes with great honor. There's challenge in it. And of course, it is a glorious moment whenever God shows us anything according to the scripture. And so, vision creates passion. And passion becomes the fuel for the mission. I don't know, if you are serving God and you have not this passion, then you are missing out.
The passion has to come. He is the source. It comes from God. Isaiah had vision, therefore he had passion, and that passion defined the mission. Eventually, it engulfed the man, Isaiah himself. A text tells us that not only did Isaiah see the Jehovah of the Old Testament in Christ, but Christ saw that Isaiah saw Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. That is a mutual understanding between the creature and the Creator. Which, if we're going to serve God and we lack this mutual understanding, we're not going to be as effective as we should have been. And so the whole, this whole vision thing has something to do with communion.
I don't mean the communion table, not to take away from that, but this communion between God and me, this co-union, this fellowship with God, this friendship with God. Seven centuries, seven hundred years before Jesus Christ was born, Isaiah was giving us detail surrounding not only his coming, the forerunner announcing his coming, his life, his death, his resurrection, his return, and his millennial reign. All these things captured by this one man unlike anyone else.
The amount of writing, the purity, the attractiveness of everything that he said. You study the book of Isaiah, you're going to work hard, but it's going to be a lot of fun. A lot of questions will go unanswered, but there will be a fire stirred up into you or in you. It was raised up to speak to a nation who had witnessed half the nation, the northern kingdom, be defeated because of their idolatry, and they too were sinking into idolatry. Judea, much of it, will be lost, but Jerusalem will not be lost, and it is largely because of this man and his prophecies.
But the worst thing about all of this in the midst of the people's idolatry is that they enjoyed it. They enjoyed distancing themselves from Jehovah, the one who was giving vision to Isaiah, who had already given vision and power to the prophets that preceded him. And I can say in almost 30 years of Bible study that this name Isaiah still stirs within my mind pictures of the Messiah, pictures of prophetic vision. You read Isaiah and you just say, yes, this is right.
Why doesn't everyone else see this? I'm talking about the verses in Isaiah, and there are many, that we easily understand. You don't have to go very far in the New Testament to come across his name. I'll get to some of the statistics surrounding the man because it is pertinent when you compare these statistics versus everything else in the Old Testament and its relationship not only to the New Testament but to us as New Testament believers. In Matthew chapter 3, verse 3, Isaiah shows up.
Not the only time, just early on. Mark chapter 1, verse 2, Isaiah shows up. Luke chapter 3, verse 4, there is Isaiah. John chapter 1, verse 23, there's Isaiah yet again. 47 chapters of Isaiah are directly quoted or alluded to by Jesus Christ or the apostles. He is referred to 419 times in 23 of 27 New Testament books. Psalms, by contrast, is referred to 414 times in 23 books. Now, depending on how you count the prophecies and the references, some may put Psalms slightly ahead. I'm going with Isaiah being slightly ahead because that is my impression.
That is incredible. Psalms has 150 Psalms in it versus Isaiah's 66 books. This man was the prophet of the Gospel before the Gospel came along. He is the fifth evangelist. He is the first truly found in the Old Testament as far as the scope of the Gospel that he presents. All of the Old Testament woven throughout is the Gospel, is the evangelical message, but none compare to this man. And he shows up roughly between the time of, or halfway between Moses and Christ, right in the middle, whereabout is the prophet Isaiah preaching this good message. And he draws us in, not by heroism, as with Jeremiah.
Or sensational visions of Ezekiel. The holiness of Daniel. These are all special, all in their own right, but what Isaiah has that is most remarkable are not deeds of heroism, but words of vision.
Remarkable words. He could have sat in a chair, his whole ministry, and he would have moved us all, stirred us all, to a closer walk and a more hungry appetite towards his God. 60 years almost, he was a prophet in Israel. In Isaiah chapter 1, in the first verse, we read the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of, now here come the kings, Uzziah, who was king for almost 60 years, over 60 years. Although Isaiah did not come early on in Uzziah's ministry, at the end of his ministry, Uzziah was the king that overstepped his boundary in the end, and he died a leper.
Smitten by God. Got too big for his britches. Entered into the role of a priest when he was forbidden to do so. Not satisfied with being a good king, and a good king he was. And when he died, a bit of the nation died with him. The severity of God is illustrated in the life of Uzziah.
That God will love and use his servants, but that if we are not careful to finish the race and obedience, we can suffer consequences and those consequences can be severe. Fortunately, in Uzziah's case, it was not the consequence of condemnation to his soul, but he still was smitten a leper. There was King Jotham, a good king, Ahaz, not a good king, and Hezekiah, whom we talked about in the series of the life and times of the people of the Bible. He was the king that cleaned house as they administered during this time and in these days. As to his life, the personal information about him is rather sparse. We know that he was a writer of considerable literary skill.
We enjoy that. The poetry of his book is magnificent. It sweeps across the pages and leaves us with a sense of awe. He was a person of strong emotion and deep feelings and you have to read his prophecies to have this come out at you. And I'll just give – we don't have time – I wish we had more time to make references, especially in this case, where you make these statements, well, he was a man of great feelings.
Well, how do we know that? Well, he cries out in certain places, oh, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters and you who have no money, come by and eat, yes, come by wine and milk, without money and without price. And then there is Isaiah 40, verse 1, comfort, yes, comfort my people. These are the words of God through the man. However, God chooses men whom the message can flow more easily through. He needed a man like Elijah to do what he did with Elijah and that flamboyant ending of Elijah going out in a chariot of fire.
How fitting! You could not expect that from some of the other men in the – Joel. You just don't see Joel going up in a chariot.
But you see Elijah doing it. And so when we read about what God told this man of God, his humanness, Isaiah's humanity comes off the pages and allows us to more readily receive what he has to say. Strong emotions, deep feelings – that's called passion. Where does that passion come from? What fuels that passion as said earlier? It's vision. It's a look at God.
It's to see God. That is the fuel and when you've lost that look or when the distance is gained between you and Christ, when there's a greater distance, the passion begins to die. You say, well, can I pray to get it back? Well, that is a part of it. That is a critical part, indispensable. It needs more than prayer. It needs good preaching, for sure. It needs appetite.
It needs all of these things working together. You don't have to ask God, is it that you don't want me closer to you? You don't ever have to ask that question.
It's already been answered. I died. My son died for you to bring you closer to me. Of course I want you closer.
The things that create this distance are things that distract so that they can attack. You've got to be mindful of it. You've got to work towards it. It's worth it. Not drawing close to Christ is work.
It just has no payoff that's worth having. He also was a man of steadfast devotion to the Lord and I'm coming to a section in my notes that I'm quite excited about and I hope you share it. His vision of God and His holiness in the temple influenced His messages during His long ministry. That's captured for us in Isaiah chapter 6. I saw the Lord. That's what Isaiah says.
That's what John is referring to when he said in our text, John 12 41, these things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. He did not just see it and that was that. He had a pulpit and he used it. He had a microphone.
He turned it on. He did it in the form of his prophecies in writing. It says in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.
You can insert there, I saw the Lord Jesus Christ before the manger sitting on a throne high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple. Then he goes and talks about the fiery ones, the burning ones, the seraphim. But not only did Isaiah realize that God is God, he realized the holiness of God. That God is a God of infinite holiness. He saw God as holy and pure, but one other thing went with that in this vision. He saw Him as God enthroned, God sovereign, God ruling. To have a crown is to have something.
It is to draw attention to yourself. It has authority with it. You got that crown from somewhere, from something, it causes that holder of the crown to be outstanding. This is what Jesus does for all of us. This is why it's pictured in the book of Revelation that they toss their crowns at His feet. I think the Lord is going to say, no, no, here's the crown.
I'm giving this to you. Because He's grace. He wants to give. He loves to bless. He cannot bless where sin is dominant, where sin rejects Him. There are places that Jesus left because they would not receive Him.
He did no great miracles there. We will receive a crown for our service in Christ. We will be significant because He has made us so. Yet He holds the crown upon His head and Isaiah got to see this at a time when the crown of Jerusalem, Uzziah, was dying. When his days were numbered, God allowed this prophet vision to see far enough to know that God was still going to be on the throne. Earthly kings come and go. Friends, loved ones, they come, they go.
God's not going anywhere. David said, my mother and my father, they may forsake me. He meant they may die. They will die.
They did die. But God will never forsake me. When it's my time to forsake my children in that sense, God will be there for me.
God will not forsake me. This requires vision. It requires seeing this through the eyes of faith. Spurgeon said, seeing is not believing but believing is seeing. That's true.
It's very true. So when he sees God on the throne, he sees that nothing happens that God is not sovereign over. Nothing, nothing on earth, no matter how good it is to you, no matter how bad it is to you, nothing happens against the sovereignty of God. Nothing happens to His children that He will not make right after this life.
Not one thing. You can't enter into that without vision. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Where there is no vision in the sense that you've not seen Jesus Christ as Savior, you perish.
It's fundamental. Vision is the source of passion in the lives of the righteous. You see, the unrighteous, they can have vision also for something that is wrong. Maybe something that is right but still it is outside of righteousness, of the righteousness that is from God. Maybe it is for evil.
Hitler had his visions, his passion for them. But the difference is that the Christian has a conscience that is not hindered by corruption. Not supposed to. We do. We do because the guilt comes back to try to undo everything Christ has done on the cross. Satan tries to exploit that. You call yourself a servant. You call yourself a leader in the church. You call yourself a Christian parent. How long have you said you've been walking with Christ? Are you doing this stuff?
Are you still doing this stuff? And that's why Paul wrote certain things when he said, where sin abounded, grace did much more. Because Paul was dealing with people like you and me who were going through the same things. People who burned incense at the pagan altars. Many of them could not escape the guilt or the lust in all of its various forms. And they wanted to be free from the corruption and the guilt and they knew they were free and yet Satan was dragging them back. And it was the power of preaching from men like Paul that has caused the church to survive in spite of the seduction of Satan and the pull towards defeat. Vision is the fuel of service everywhere in Christ.
Everywhere. If you're serving Christ without vision, you're serving on the strength of what? A merit system? A sense of responsibility? Well, there's an element of merit in what we do. We know God will reward us but that's not our motivation.
Outside of we know that we will be in paradise with Him. We know that there's a decency, there's responsibility entrusted to us as servants and so yes we do serve. But those are secondary. They're in second, third, fourth position. They're like servants in the house. Secundus. Cortis.
But they're not numero uno. The first thing is this passion. Passion is this love that is flaming.
It's not died, it's there. It doesn't come naturally to us. Love for ourself does. Love for people we choose to love or are attracted to.
That comes very easily. But this agape love, it is not natural. Phileo, natural. Eros, natural.
Stroge, natural. Agape, that is spiritual. It can only come from seeing Christ. It can only come from seeing Him high and lifted up and on the throne no matter what you're going through.
If you can only see Him on the throne in days of sunshine, what good is that to you? But to see Him high and lifted up when the dark clouds are rolling in through the entire process, though He slay me, I would trust in Him. That's what Job said. We know he said that. Not because of any other reason that you remember he said that because it's outstanding to you. When Isaiah saw the Lord on the throne and the seraphim was dispatched, he writes this in verse 6 of Isaiah 6, he says, then one of the seraphim flew to me. I love that. He flew to me.
What would have happened if he flew by me to someone else? Isaiah writes, then one of the seraphim flew to me. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's Word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-22 23:25:29 / 2023-01-22 23:33:52 / 8