You’ll Never Be Like Giannis (And That’s Okay)

Isaiah 6:1-8

How do you feel when you’re in the presence of greatness? I don’t know about you, but when I go to a Bucks game or when I watch basketball on TV, I realize that even on my best day, I did not have the skill or the talent of an NBA player. Although at the age of 13, you could not have told me that. I was certain I was going to the NBA. Possibly you can relate. Maybe some of you are gifted musically and you thought that one day you would be a great musician, but then reality set in and you knew that that was not in the cards for you. Unless you are truly one of those specially gifted people by God in whatever skill set, you likely have had the feeling that I am describing. The realization that you weren’t good enough. The self-awareness to know that in comparison to greatness, you really weren’t that great at all. Our sermon text this morning, Isaiah was being called into service as a prophet for our triune God. Isaiah is given a vision by God in which he sees something amazing. He sees the Lord sitting on his throne in glory. The train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah sees the seraphim flying around with their faces and their feet covered. The angels were singing God’s praises, and as they sang God’s praises, the door posts and the thresholds of the temple shook, and the temple was filled with smoke. Isaiah must have been awestruck at what he was seeing. He was probably thinking to himself, “This is the greatest thing I have ever seen.” He was in the presence of the Lord, and he was experiencing a small glimpse of what heaven would be like. But then reality set in for Isaiah, much like all of us when we’re in the presence of a great athlete or a great musician, we tend to shrink. Isaiah began to realize something about himself. He realized that he did not belong there. He was out of place. He was in the presence of angels who were created by God to be perfect, but they themselves, although perfect, covered their faces and their feet in the presence of the Lord and sung his praises. More importantly, Isaiah was in the presence of the Lord God Almighty, and wow, did he feel inadequate. He says, “Woe to me, I am ruined.” Now, do you think Isaiah felt small in the presence of greatness, true greatness, the Lord himself? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. He knew he didn’t belong. He knew that he was a sinner who had no right to see the Lord. He knew that he was a sinful man and he could not be in the presence of a perfect and holy and triune God and yet still live. He must have felt as though he was doomed for all eternity. Now, let’s think about ourselves a little bit. If we are honest, we know that we don’t have the right to stand in the presence of our perfect Lord. We know that we too are sinners. Even on our best days, we have sinned against God in countless ways. Before the start of church this morning, by 9 a.m., my guess is we’ve all had a sinful thought or two, or 200, and maybe even those sinful thoughts have manifested themselves into sinful words and actions. On our own, we too are doomed for all eternity. Then something incredible happened in Isaiah’s vision. One of the angels touched his lips with a live call from the altar, probably the altar of burnt offering where sacrifices were made for the absolution of sins. The angel pronounced to Isaiah that he no longer needed to feel guilty. He no longer needed to feel as though he didn’t measure up because his sins had been atoned for. Isaiah could now stand in the presence of a perfect holy and triune God because his merciful Lord had taken all of his sins away. Imagine how Isaiah must have felt now. Once a man who felt about this tall was standing tall, full of confidence and full of thankfulness for what God had done for him. Brothers and sisters, we too can now stand before God knowing that all of our sins have been taken away by Jesus. Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Immediately something should strike your ears as sounding peculiar in that statement. God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Now either God is plural or he is singular, but he can’t be both. Our simple human mind simply cannot rationalize the thought. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. It sure sounds like three very distinct persons to me. But again, God says, “Whom shall I send?” So when I hear that, my simple human mind thinks of one person. So which one is it? Is God one person or is God three persons? The answer is yes. Brothers and sisters, our holy and triune God is bigger than us. Our simple human minds simply cannot understand the complexity of the Trinity, but it is the truth. And we know it is the truth because our Almighty Lord and Savior says it is the truth in His Word. All three persons were involved in creating us and creating the world. All three persons were involved in saving us from our sins. All three persons have our working faith in our heart and encouraging us towards heaven. But yet and still, this is the truth and this is the same. It is one God forever and ever. So when we think about everything that God has done for us, removing all of our sin so that we can be in His presence, also that we sinners could be in heaven with Him. So when God asks the question, “Whom shall I send?” and “Who will go for us?” we can answer the triune God, the God who saves us, and out of thankfulness say to Him, “Here am I. Send me. Send me.” Brothers and sisters, none of us will ever be as great as Giannis. And that’s okay. None of us will ever play basketball the way that he can play it. And that’s okay. But God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit has made us worthy so that we can stand in His presence. And that is the greatest thing ever because He is the greatest ever. Amen.

About Assistant Pastor Damion Glisper