Advent Devotion for December 23
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Here I am. Send me.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 6:8-10
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
9 And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people,
‘Listen carefully, but do not understand.
Watch closely, but learn nothing.’
10 Harden the hearts of these people.
Plug their ears and shut their eyes.
That way, they will not see with their eyes,
nor hear with their ears,
nor understand with their hearts
and turn to me for healing.”
SCRIPTURE: John 12:37-45
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.
42Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.
SOME THOUGHTS: Most of us are very familiar with this passage of Isaiah’s vision of God in the Temple and his call to ministry. Isaiah’s response was the well-known “Here am I send me,” a shadow of what was to come later. The Lord gave Isaiah the message of repentance to his people. The Greek version of this passage reads: “When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.” In the pericope in John, Jesus had just completed the Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday) into Jerusalem. Many of the people came to see him because they had seen him raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Isaiah shadow “Here am I, send me.” He had come to fulfill God’s mission. Jesus specifically says that Isaiah was referring to the Messiah when he said the people would reject him and his message and refuse to repent. In spite of what he knew would be their failure to believe, the Savior said to the Father, “Here am I, send me. Not my will but thine be done.” Those words ought to be on the lips of every follower of Christ. May we be useful in accomplishing the Father’s will this day.
MUSIC: "The First Noel"
Lord of the eyes, may I see what you see.
Lord of the ears, may I hear your voice.
Lord of understanding, may I begin to grasp your mind.
Lord of my heart, may my heart go hard after your heart. Amen.