Isaiah has an intriguing line in our Old Testament lesson. He says: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ”
Paul repeats the thought in the 10th chapter of Romans: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
What a strange phrase for Isaiah to use, for Paul to repeat – “Beautiful feet.”
Do feet usually strike you as beautiful?
Feet get dirty. Sometimes they stink. They get disfigured and deformed over the years from the sheer miles we put on. Of all the parts of the body which God has given, we would hardly hold up a foot as the most beautiful.
But feet are functional. They take us places. The rest of your body doesn’t go anywhere without your feet taking you there.
Disabled folks who must rely on mechanical devices to get them from point A to point B, the elderly and the ill who must finally give in to walkers and wheelchairs – they would remind us not to take our feet for granted.
Isaiah looked down the road to the day when God would take up His royal power and free His people from the Babylonian Captivity. In that day, His heralds, His preachers, ran on foot, as messengers did in ancient times, to bring the good news of freedom and deliverance to desolate Jerusalem. To Jerusalem, there was no sight as beautiful as the dirty, dusty, running feet of those who announced: “Your God has taken up His power and reigns.”
This is still how the Gospel goes forth. In your life and mine someone once brought us the Gospel, setting us free from our burning guilt, our secret chains, our fear of death. Those feet became for us the most beautiful feet in the world because they came to us with the everlasting Gospel.
We who now have it join to send others with the glad tidings. Congregations that forget this turn inward and die. Congregations that remember this reach outward and thrive. Jesus’ timeless principle applies to separate souls and entire congregations: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s shall find it.”
In seeking to save ourselves, to get by “on the cheap,” with the least amount of sacrifice, we lose ourselves. In losing and spending ourselves for Christ and His Gospel, we find ourselves – and others. The entire story of the New Testament book of Acts shows us that the Church doesn’t go anywhere without some really “beautiful feet.”