In the year that King Uzziah died, I 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.”Isaiah 6:1-7
Kings rise and fall, but there always remains one true King. Kings live and die, but there is always one King who lives and reigns forever. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lord of Hosts, who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). We put our faith in governors, congressmen and women, senators, presidents—and in other nations, kings and queens—and they always end up being a disappointment. Even those who’ve achieved unprecedented greatness always fall short; they die and they do not rise again to continue ruling for us.
All but Christ the King. Jesus did what earthly kings never do. He stepped down from His throne, became one of us, and died to save us from the enemy (Philippians 2:5-8). Christ the King became born of a people of unclean lips, Israel. And our King does for us what the seraph did for Isaiah, which is akin to a sacramental mystery. The angel, in all its divine might, had to hold the burning coal with tongs rather than his hands—it was that hot. Yet when it touched Isaiah’s lips, the burning coal did not burn his lips to a crisp but removed his guilt and atoned for his sins. In the same way, therefore, in the sacramental mystery of the Lord’s Supper, the body and blood of Christ the King touches our lips and enters our stomachs, and we receive not the burning wrath of God for His shed blood but the removal of our guilt and the atonement of all our sins.
Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” Christ our King is risen, seated on the throne of God. “Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). What a mighty and gracious King we have, whose throne of grace we may approach at any time with confidence to “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need!” (Hebrews 4:16).