Forthright Magazine

Beautiful feet

“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!’” (Isaiah 52:7 NIV)

When we think of the most attractive part of our body, I doubt that we think of our feet. Feet are those appendages on the end of our legs that allow us to balance, walk, push, run, and I’m sure a host of other things. But when we think of feet we don’t think of beauty but of something smelly.

When Isaiah writes about ‘beautiful feet’ it isn’t that they are beautiful in and of themselves – their beauty is in what they are doing. They are bringing ‘good news’. Who doesn’t like to get good news? We like to learn of what our friends and family are involved in, the successes they have had, the good that they have done. There isn’t much better news than that of a new baby being born, and especially if this baby is your grandchild! We love good news.

It surely isn’t coincidental that the word used in the New Testament scriptures to talk about the message of Jesus is euaggelion. Although most English Bible versions render this as ‘gospel’ we miss the real meaning of the Greek word. Our word ‘gospel’ is from an old English word ‘godspel’ which meant ‘good news’ – and this is exactly what the Greek word meant. The message of Jesus is ‘good news’!

Why is Jesus good news? Isaiah identified that when he wrote about beautiful feet. These feet are bringing good news which is about peace, salvation, and that God reigns. What news could be better than this? Doesn’t this describe so well what Jesus has done and what our message should be? Although ‘salvation’ has become primarily a ‘religious’ word it simply means ‘safety’. In Jesus was are safe because in his death he took away our sin. We have peace with God which should lead to peace with other people. Jesus is good news because he brings peace and safety.

“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 52:8-9)

In context Isaiah was talking about what would happen when God restored the people of Judah from captivity – that would be a joyful event! We also have this joy because Jesus came to deliver us from the captivity of sin. Jesus has ‘redeemed’ us – he bought us back from sin so that we are once again freed to serve God.

As joyful as is the birth of new baby, there is that same type of joy when someone is born again by being immersed into Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (see Romans 6). When we see someone becoming a Christian there is great joy and we should burst into songs of joy.

Are we being the watchmen that we should be? A watchman was someone who kept watch – they looked out for any danger that might be coming towards a town. Their job was to keep watch and warn those living there of any threats to them. But, because they kept watch, they also saw the approach of those who were friendly, as here in Isaiah. We are God’s watchmen today: looking for potential danger but also watching to welcome those who are seeking peace and safety.

May we be the messenger with beautiful feet, bringing good news of peace and safety, and also the watchman, looking for those who are searching for the peace and safety that only Jesus can bring.

Photo from Free for use.

Readings for next week: Isaiah 50-62


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