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How Beautiful Are the 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!’ 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. The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:7-10, NIV)

It’s true that good news travels fast, but in ancient times, it traveled only as fast as the runner who carried it. The picture Isaiah paints for us is a messenger with good news running as fast as he could. When he arrived to those to whom he was sent, their reaction was to call his feet beautiful.

This is curious! Beautiful is probably not the word we would use to describe this person’s feet. In a day when people wore sandals if they wore any shoes at all, his feet would have been dirty, maybe injured, scratched, or bleeding. But for those who received the good news he was carrying, those feet were wonderful.

Two of our daughters, Kara and Kathleen, participated in short-term missions trips this summer. Kathleen went to Northern Ireland for almost two weeks, and Kara went to Tanzania for almost two months. They went to far-off places carrying Good News to people who didn’t even know they needed it.


How beautiful are the feet: “For those who received the good news he was carrying, those feet were wonderful.”


As a parent, sending two of my kids to the other side of the world was a bit nerve-wracking. It was also good for my prayer life. It was a reminder that, when we raise our kids to love God and love people, they might just want to “Go into all the world” just like Jesus said.

When we picked Kara up from the Kansas City airport, it was an emotional reunion for all of us. To say we had missed her would be the understatement of the year. By the time we got some supper and drove home, it was late. Everyone was tired. Kara was sniffing and coughing from a bit of a cold, which can happen when you spend lots of time in a few airplanes between countries and climates.

When the kids were younger, and they had colds, there was nothing like a good foot massage using something like Vicks to soothe a cough. So when Kara had gotten in bed, I opened the jar and started the foot-rubbing process.

Kara wore sandals (Chacos) the whole time she was in Africa, so she had some cool tan lines. And in some of the photos we’ve seen, she wasn’t wearing shoes at all. The combination of Chacos and no Chacos gave her some callouses infused with Tanzanian soil. When I was rubbing her feet, I realized I was touching bits of another continent she hadn’t been able to scrub off.

That’s when I said, “Kara, you have beautiful feet.”


“Kara, you have beautiful feet.”


She laughed but knew what I was referring to. She answered my Isaiah 52 reference with what Paul said in Ephesians 6: “…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” These beautiful, calloused feet were prepared and readied to take the Good News of peace to another land, and they had just brought her home again.

In the Isaiah passage above, we see many emotional reactions to sharing and hearing the Good News—a phrase in the Old Testament that, when brought to the New Testament, is the same word as “Gospel.” Here are some of the emotions:

  • The people running to bring the gospel message proclaim peace.
  • They bring good tidings (of great joy which will be for all people).
  • They proclaim (or preach) salvation/rescue/deliverance.
  • They say, “Your God reigns!” God is the King! The King rules!
  • People shout for joy!
  • They burst into songs of joy together, for the Lord has comforted them in their suffering. They have been redeemed, forgiven, and released from the prison of their own sin.
  • All the nations will witness the holy strength of the Lord’s arm. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of God.

I read and feel the emotions of those who speak and those who hear the Good News, and I can’t help but think there’s a contrast between the people in this passage—and the way gospel conversations tend to happen in our culture and time. Too often the message that is proclaimed is called the “gospel,” but it doesn’t quite sound like Good News, either from those who give it or to those who hear it.


“I can’t help but think there’s a contrast between the people in this passage—and the way gospel conversations tend to happen in our culture and time.”


We don’t have to go thousands of miles away to bring Good News to someone. It is more likely they work with you, live next door, or might even be a family member. It can be as simple as A, B, C, and D.

  • Away from Christ – describe who you were or what life was like before you knew Jesus.
  • Because of Christ – tell what Christ has done for you (e.g., forgiveness, new life, hope).
  • Change Christ made – talk about how Christ is making you to be more like Him as you grow.
  • Ask, “Do you have a story like that?” Asking them gives them an opportunity to tell their story.

Having a format like this helps us do a couple of things. One, it makes it simple and keeps us on track when we’re likely to get distracted down some theological rabbit holes. Two, it helps us tell our story without forcing their story from them. It invites them into our story and the Story of Jesus.

The truth is we all have the potential of having beautiful feet. All followers of Jesus have a story of peace and joy to tell. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to have all the answers. At its core, making disciples is inviting people to follow Jesus with you, which assumes you’re following Jesus enough that someone can follow your following. This puts some responsibilities on us, but that’s natural.


How beautiful are the feet: “All followers of Jesus have a story of peace and joy to tell.”


There is a lot of joy and applause when a person becomes a parent, but there are also joyful and serious responsibilities that come along with it. In the same way, there is great joy and applause (and singing!) when a person is born again into new life in Christ! How much more, then, are we called to care for, walk with, and nurture that baby believer, helping them grow in Christ and then see them make more disciples?

Remember, sometimes it’s the calloused and dirty feet—feet that walk down dark and painful roads with those who need to know God’s love—that are the most beautiful feet of all.

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