Click HERE for and audio version of this message.
Think of a time when great number of people burst into songs of joy together. Do you think of Victory in Europe day, or VJ day? People from many nations rejoiced together on those days as war came to an end. You might think of the fact that Moses and Miriam led the whole nation of Israel in dancing and singing for joy when God closed up the Red Sea on the Egyptians and they were safe. Maybe you think of a time when a missing child is found safe and returned to their family.
The Bible says that those who report good news, the kind that makes everyone shout for joy and burst into songs of joy, have beautiful feet. They have been running as fast as they can because they can’t wait to share their good news, in this case, the news of what God has done, with everyone.
What is the good news that Isaiah says will cause everyone to shout and sing for joy? The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations. It might have seemed to many that he wasn’t doing much, that maybe he had forgotten his promises, or changed his mind. But he is about to role up his sleeves and make it clear to everyone that he is God and he reigns.
The Lord laid bare his holy arm and made it clear that he is the one who reigns that first Christmas. Gabriel spoke about his power when he explained that Jesus would be conceived in the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He has power over procreation. He laid bare his holy arm to protect Mary and Joseph and Jesus from the evil intent of Herod. He showed the extent of his reign by using the power of a decree of Caesar to make sure Mary was in Bethlehem when the time came for Jesus to be born. As Paul says, when the fullness of time had come, when everything was arranged by God’s power and plan for his promise of a Savior to be fulfilled, God sent his son to be born of a woman. But it didn’t stop there. The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to be killed, but not during the Passover. But God overruled their plans. When Jesus died on the cross, they must have been thinking that they had succeeded in getting rid of Jesus. But the Lord laid bare his holy arm again and Jesus rose from the dead. And it hasn’t sopped there! Our God is continuing to reign. All things have been placed under the feet of Jesus and he is using the power of his holy arm to make sure that everything that happens in the whole universe fits his plan for our eternal good. And, when the fullness of time comes again, all the ends of the earth will see him, even those who pierced him. Then it will be evident to all that our God reigns.
The people of Jerusalem needed some good news. They needed to be comforted. Did you catch why? Isaiah talks about the Lord returning to Zion. Of course, that means that he had left. In fact, Ezekiel was given a vision in which he saw the Glory of the Lord leaving the Temple, and then the city. Isaiah talks about the ruins of Jerusalem. God’s people needed to be comforted because, through the prophets, they were brought to realize that Jerusalem and the Temple were in ruins because of their sin, because they went through the motions of worship, but their trust was really in military alliances and idols instead of in God.
There are times when we need to be comforted too. As we look into the mirror of God’s law, we can’t help but see that we have broken God’s commandments more times than we can count. We can’t help but see that God’s judgment is hanging over us and there is nothing we can do to escape. There are times when we look at things that have happened in our lives and, like Israel, we realize that we brought pain and misery on ourselves because we made ourselves and our desires more important than God and his word, and more important than those we said we loved. We have made a mess of things and there isn’t anything we can do to fix it.
How does God comfort us when we realize how sinful and helpless we are? He sends angels to proclaim to some lowly Shepherds watching their sheep on the hills near Bethlehem; I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
That’s good news, the greatest news ever. The promised Savior has come. He has come to establish peace between God and man, the peace that was broken by sin. He has come to redeem his people. He has come to pay the price demanded to set humans free from the sentence of eternal death. He has come to proclaim salvation. Not a list of rules to be followed so that you might earn salvation, no! He has come to proclaim the salvation of our God. It’s his salvation which he offers to all people for free because Jesus has purchased it for everyone. He is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world by taking the punishment we deserve on himself.
What did the shepherds do after they saw that everything was just what the angels said it would be? They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them… They returned to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. They got beautiful feet. They proclaimed the good news of God’s salvation to everyone they met.
That’s the way it usually is. If your favorite team wins you are filled with joy and can’t wait to tell everyone you know about it. If that special person pops the question you are filled with joy and you can’t wait to show off the ring, post pictures on Facebook, and share your good news with everyone.
How are you doing with proclaiming the good news that Jesus was born to bring you comfort, peace and salvation? Are you a little reticent about even saying “Merry Christmas” because someone might be offended? Do you care if people from the opposing team might be offended when you celebrate your team’s victory? Think of how much better it is to proclaim the good news of the salvation of our God! The only one who should be offended is Satan. He’s the one who has been defeated. You are telling everyone else the good news that Jesus was born to save them too! He wants them to be comforted. He wants them to have peace. He wants them to share in the joy of his victory over sin, death and Satan.
Your feet might not look beautiful. They might be showing the affects of sin and aging. They might have been stomped on a few times when you tried to share the good news and someone didn’t appreciate it. But, be assured that in God’s eyes, your feet are beautiful when they carry the message he has given you. Be reminded every day that, in Jesus, there is comfort when you are troubled by your sins. Be reminded every day that, in Jesus, you have been redeemed, you have peace with God, his salvation has been credited to your account. Then, like the shepherds, you will go off to your daily tasks with beautiful feet, rejoicing in God’s salvation, unable to keep the good news to yourself. You will tell everyone that God reigns. He has fulfilled his promise. The savior has been born. He offers the peace and comfort of forgiveness and salvation for free to all. Come, rejoice in His salvation with me!