“And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’ ” Romans 10:15 (NAS)
The apostle Paul, here in this juncture of his inspired epistle to the Roman brethren (and us!), cites another quote from the messianic prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah.
The context quoted comes from chapter fifty-two of Isaiah, verse seven (ahh, a “perfect” verse, right?). Here is how verse seven reads in its entirety in the book of Isaiah: “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Although an important part of the context of this section of the apostle’s letter to the Romans, isn’t it funny how often this verse and the context surrounding verses nine and ten are ignored or compartmentalized by those who try to lift verses nine and ten of Romans chapter ten out of context? Many a sound Bible teacher has elaborated upon what it means in the New Testament to confess Jesus as Lord, to call upon His name (C. f. Joel 2:32 with Peter’s message on Pentecost, Acts 2:21). One makes that call when they believe the gospel message (which, by the way, they are not going to believe unless they know with full assurance the Biblical Christ who was prophesied to come), are willing to repent, confess He is the LORD, and are immersed upon (into) His name (Jesus Christ) in water by faith (1 Pet. 3:21, Col. 2:11, 12) believing what the Lord has said occurs in immersion – forgiveness of sins and receiving the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit-that which results in salvation. But do we really need to explain that all again? Well, yes! But let’s turn our attention back to Isaiah’s prophetic utterance which the Spirit moved Paul to quote and consider it for our edification. After all, isn’t that why the Old Testament was written and preserved? (Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:11) Isaiah’s divine message in the context of chapter fifty-two that was to bring happiness and peace to God’s people was looking to the future deliverance, redemption, and restoration of Jerusalem and Zion. Once more, God would reign over His people having displayed His triumph over their captor(s). Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? (Col. 2:15) Each of us at one time had been looking longingly for that message of hope. When that preacher was sent (“Go, make disciples..” Matt. 28:19) and we heard and believed (verified) the message, we recognized the beauty of the feet that brought those glad tidings of salvation to us. We awoke from the slumber of a deathly sleep (Isa. 52:1) to be clothed in strength in our beautiful garments (in Christ in our immersion; Gal. 3:26, 27) and loosed from our captivity (Isa. 52:2). Moreover, we rejoiced that through the good news of the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, appearance and ascension to glory of Jesus Christ, we came to know, as the LORD said through Isaiah, “My name.” (Isa. 52:6) In this message, particularly the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the LORD had “bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God” (Isa. 52:10) through Christ Jesus. Confidently we acknowledge He reigns over heavenly Jerusalem and Zion, having lifted the church by faith into the heavenly realm (Heb. 12:22-24), where the church, as was prophesied, “will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion.” (Isa. 52:8) In another inspired letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul is moved to write: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Brethren, we know God has it set up that people get a chance to believe in Him (Jesus) by hearing the message of those that have been sent. “How lovely…are the feet of him who brings good news” Hmmm. Sounds like the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of those things we should be letting our mind dwell on, eh? Put this picture of the beauty the Lord sees in us carrying out this mission in your mind. Now put that person who hasn’t yet heard that you can reach with this lovely message at the forefront of your mind. Now picture your beautiful feet heading out your door to speak to that captive soul! Amen.