“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
In parting words to his disciples Jesus said “You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the Earth” (Acts 1:8) . Most church members ‘Get’ the idea of the “to the Ends of the Earth” bit and are quite comfortable to send and sponsor Missionaries to go overseas ‘where the pagans’ are. Indeed, churches and their connected Mission agencies have been taking the ‘Good news’ the “ends of the earth” for centuries. However, Jesus instruction also included Jerusalem and Judea, i.e. our local area and State, an aspect of Jesus statement that has never really been on the agenda for western churches for 1500 years because “we live in a ‘Christian’ country don’t we?” and the Pagans are ‘over there’ aren’t they?
The response to such statements can only be a resounding ‘No we don’t, and they are not!’. The fact is that those who worship (usually subconsciously) other gods, the “dumb idols” of 1 Corinthians 12:2, are right next door, across the street, and in our neighbourhood.
In the context of the ongoing decline in church membership and attendance across the countries of the western world it is important to remember Jesus other instruction to his followers to “Go and make disciples”, for as the Apostle Paul puts it-
“13Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone proclaiming to them? 15 And how can anyone proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 1:13-17
Paul’s point is that the opportunity for Salvation through Christ only comes from the intentional taking of message ‘Good News’ to those who need to hear it. Those with ‘beautiful feet’ are the ones who do that to their local ‘Jerusalem’, the ones who do not limit their ‘walking’ to church services or bible study groups, but those who walk the ‘Jerusalem’ of their local community, the pubs, clubs, mothers’ groups, coffee shops, skate-board parks and other places where youth hang out, interest groups, work places etc. with the deliberate intention of seeking to create opportunities to communicate the Good News.
However, so tragically, ‘Beautiful feet’ are in very short and diminishing supply, and so there is declining opportunity for the lost to hear and so believe in the Good News of Jesus without which they cannot be saved. In the absence of a great mobilization, a great tramping of ‘Beautiful feet’ our society and the individuals that comprise it will be doomed to an ever deepening spiritual, and ultimately eternal darkness from which there is no return, a trajectory that is now well established.
If we claim to bear the name of Christ, there are questions to be asked. How beautiful are our feet in the sight of God, and where will our feet be taking us with the ‘Good News’ this week?