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The Feet of Jesus

Look,  there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Nahum 1:15.

When I first read that this morning I thought: surely that’s from Isaiah not Nahum; but then I realised that Nahum’s voice is echoing Isaiah’s. “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. Both prophets are anticipating the day when a messenger will be seen sprinting over the hills to the ruined city of Jerusalem to bring the news that the exile is over and that the people of God are free to return to the City of God … that Assyria has not had the last word … that it is the God of Israel who really reigns. But they are both also anticipating a day long beyond that when the Messenger will announce the beginning of what the Bible calls “the age to come” — the age that follows “this age”. As Isaiah makes clear, that will be the age when “the LORD returns to Zion” and “all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God” Isaiah 52:8,10. 

700 years after Nahum and Isaiah have spoken of the feet of the messenger, Paul knows that that new age has dawned and is being proclaimed throughout the world, so he applies their words to those who go out to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ: “As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” Romans 10:15.

But I must say that as I read the words this morning it was the feet of Jesus that immediately came to mind. I saw the “woman who was a sinner” coming into the house of the Pharisee with whom Jesus was dining and watched how “as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” Luke 7:38. She recognised Jesus as the Messenger whom Isaiah and Nahum only indistinctly saw. He was the one who who had inaugurated his ministry by declaring in the synagogue of Nazareth that God had anointed him to bring “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18), who proclaimed peace to his followers (John 14:27), and whose central message was that “the kingdom of God is at hand”. And he was the one who had brought all of his salvation and peace and kingdom life to this woman whose sins he forgave and who loved him so much.

But then came another picture of the feet of Jesus. Bleeding. Pinned to the cross by an iron nail. No, there isn’t a Bible reference for this but we know it was so because of what the risen Jesus said to his disciples: “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet” Luke 24:39-40. The beautiful feet of the beautiful Messenger became broken feet … for me, for you.

Lord Jesus … Immanuel … As the song says: “Bowed in awe, I worship at your feet.” Amen.

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