This is the Sermon Preached on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at

Shaped by the Cross Lutheran Church
Laurie, Missouri

Isaiah 52:7-10

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!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the LORD restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has 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.

Sermon for Lenten Wednesday #6                                                                                                                                                                                                                         4/09/14

The Servant of Isaiah

The Servant Has Beautiful Feet

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The image of beautiful feet is not meant literally. In the ancient world, where people rarely wore shoes, their feet tended to be beaten up and cracked and gnarled and dusty. We see a little of that reality in the account of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus pointed out to his host, Simon the Pharisee, that he had not offered Jesus the courtesy of washing His feet when He arrived. That would have been a welcome comfort in a place where everyone went about more or less bare-footed, or wearing those minimalist sandals we see on the feet of the people in the pictures of that region. The thing that made the feet beautiful was the good news they carried. The prophet meant that the message was wonderful and so the messenger was received gladly. One would be delighted to see them approach. How beautiful– or , as our text says, lovely are the feet of Him who brings good news!

And what marvelous good news the Servant brings. He announces peace, happiness, salvation, redemption, and proclaims that our God reigns! This evening our theme is, The Servant Has Beautiful Feet.

The Servant has beautiful feet, that is, He is the bringer of the wonderful announcements of salvation. The news is good because it is the Gospel. What could be better news than the proclamation that God has taken your sins off of your shoulders and paid the penalty Himself? That is the good news - which, in Greek, is a single word we translate as “Gospel” in English. The freely bestowed grace of God, taking sin and death out of the way and pouring life and salvation on all who believe.

Isaiah says that He announces peace. The peace He brings is two-fold: peace with God, and the peace of faith. Peace with God is established on the crucifixion of Christ in our place. We lost that peace with God when Adam and Eve plunged the world and all of mankind – which at that point in time consisted of just them – into sin and corruption and death, and brought the wrath of God and His horrible just decree down upon us all. With sin taken away and punished, God is no longer to be seen as the wrath-filled deity in the sky, but now declares Himself to be our loving heavenly Father. Adam and Eve were frightened in the presence of God after the fall because they knew His judgement against sin: the soul that sins shall die! The cause of God’s righteous His anger has been done away with, and His wrath quenched and that ancient judgment met and fulfilled by the vicarious suffering of the Servant on our behalf. Therefore we have peace with God.

Which results in peace with others and peace within ourselves. If God be for us, who can be against us? With God on our side and declaring us to be His holy children, no one can effectively stand against us. His power and His good will are fighting for us! More than that, with God on our side, so to speak, what do we have to fear? Therefore, we have peace – the peace of faith – because with the love of God we know that He will keep us safe and guide us through whatever may come. That is the message of peace the Servant brings.

Not only do we have peace, we have happiness. Sins forgiven bring happiness, particularly if you are troubled by your sins. The love of God and the resulting confidence in blessings brings happiness. The happiness the Prophet speaks about, however, is the happiness of the one who is looking for salvation and finally sees it in the Servant, for it is the Servant who announces salvation. It is His work and His proclamation – His news, if you will, and He brings and proclaims the end of death and the divine promise of abundant blessings in everlasting life. This news works happiness in those that understand it and believe.

The salvation of God is not like those man-made stories about the wise old being who faces the end of life (and usually of existence) with a quiet resignation achieved by years of preparation, as in Dustin Hoffman’s movie, Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. That sort of story is a popular tale of the unbelieving. They want to believe that life just ends, and that is the way it should be, and when we have filled our cup with life and experiences, we should be satisfied and let it all go with peace of some sort. Reality is different. Death is the enemy! We are never done with seeing or hearing. Our bodies grow old but inwardly we never come to the point where we would not like just a bit more, particularly if we could have it while young and strong and fit for the joy of it. Most of us remain children at heart and inside, even if our bodies do grow old and painful.

Besides, we do not just drift peacefully away into oblivion. On the other side of that door called “death” there is continued existence. Hell awaits the unbelieving sinner, described by Jesus as “where the worm never dies and the fire never goes out”, and “where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”. There is something about that reality the human spirit knows and recognizes and fears. If death were simple oblivion and non-existence, it would not trouble us so. The salvation which the Servant announces is rescue from that hell into a life of peace and joy and glory with the Lord forever. There we will have that “just a bit more” eternally and live and grow in eternity in it and in the joy of it.

The good news of the Servant is that this is possible because the Creator of all things is your God, and it is His good will to share all of this with you. Isaiah reports that the Servant, says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" He has the power to accomplish His will, and His will for you is good!

The Servant not only wins this salvation, but He announces it and presents it before the whole world, The LORD has 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. That proclamation began with Jesus’ own ministry – and the work He did in the passion and crucifixion. It continues today through the Church, in the faithful preaching of faithful pastors, and by the faithful confession of His Holy People.

When you live out your faith, and when you confess it before others, you, too, have beautiful feet! It does not matter if the world around you sits up and takes notice or not. What is important is the faithful confession of Christ and of the salvation which He has won for us. When you speak the Gospel in any form, the Servant continues to proclaim through you.

The salvation of God is the comfort and the joy of His people, so the prophecy is fulfilled, that the Lord has comforted His people, and so we “shout joyfully together,” as Isaiah prophesies. Those who hope for forgiveness and rescue from death and hell have the comfort of knowing that the Lord has done it – and the prophet says, He has redeemed Jerusalem. He has redeemed Jerusalem, for His holy Church is the New Jerusalem, and we have been redeemed.

Tonight, as in every worship service of every Christian Church that proclaims the pure Word of God, the Servant once again announces the good news of redemption and salvation, and therefore He has those beautiful feet of the One who brings good tidings of good things, or as Isaiah said it in our text tonight, How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

(Let the people say Amen)

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