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Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

We take a closer look at today’s Old Testament Reading, Isaiah 6:1–13. Our devotion is from Concordia Pulpit Resources.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 6:1–13
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 14:12b–20
Luke 5:1–11

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Isaiah found himself in the presence of the great “I AM,” Creator of all that is seen and unseen, and he saw quite clearly what he had not seen before: “Woe is me! For l am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (v 5). Isaiah saw what cannot be seen by unbelievers because it remains concealed from their eyes. He saw what he truly was—a miserable sinner. He recognized that he was a sinner among sinful men. He deserved destruction at the hands of God, who sat enthroned before him. Isaiah’s conscience convicted him of his sin. The vision of God and the seraphim who attend him caused Isaiah to mourn for Israel and fear for his life. He realized that he and all his people were by nature dead in sin and that in them was by nature no righteous thing. Isaiah had nothing to merit the favor of God. He had nothing to appease his wrath and earn his forgiveness. He stood before his God in naked shame. . . .

But for Isaiah an angel came forth, a seraph from the army of God, an angel who is in the temple day and night singing to the glory of the Lord. He flew to the altar and took from it a burning coal, a remnant of the burnt offering, and placed it, burning, on Isaiah’s lips and Isaiah’s sin was forgiven. He was made holy like the angel, for he partook of that which was sacrificed in his place. It was put on his mouth, and it made him clean.

Like Isaiah, you have had your guilt taken away. You, too, have been made clean. . . . You are clothed in the robes of Christ’s righteousness. He who did not covet the glories of heaven came down from heaven for the salvation of his people (Phil 2:5–8). And saving his people, he takes of what is his and makes it yours. He has removed your filthy garments and clothed you with pure vestments (Zech 3:3–4). At the same time, he sends forth his Holy Spirit, who breathes into you the power to believe and gives voice to your confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16).

This Jesus, who is God in the flesh, is not yet revealed to you in heaven, but in the humiliation of the crucified Christ. The cross is the only door to heaven, and Christ is the only image of God. This Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, and the cross is his throne and the glory of his Church. Through the cross, Jesus fills the earth with his glory. Through the cross, Jesus opens the door of heaven to you, and you pass under the bloodstained lintel and doorposts. He who sees Jesus on the cross sees the almighty God and his gracious and loving mercy.

Therefore, you no longer need to mourn your sins, for just as Isaiah was made pure by the burning coal, in the Holy Eucharist the flesh that suffered the holy fire of God’s wrath for you is placed on your lips and tongue, and you are purged of your sin, made holy and righteous in God’s sight. All the glory that was and is God is fed to you in this most holy meal. Therefore, you are made holy like the angel host. Condemned no more, you stand with the angels and archangels and all the saints of heaven and sing with them the threefold hymn of praise, “Holy, holy, holy” (v 3).

Devotional reading is from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 17, Part 1, Series C, Epiphany 5 sermon © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Video is of “Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying” and “Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices” from Five Hymn Preludes for Organ © 2015 Concordia Publishing House.

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.



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