Feet. They are gnarly, dirty, and they smell. Of all the parts of the body they are arguably our least admired. In the ancient world this was even more so, when they would collect the dirt and filth of where you had travelled. As a result of their contact with the ground, they were considered essentially unclean in Jewish thought.
Similarly in rabbinic thinking, a new shoe was clean, until it touched the floor. Sacred books were never to touch the floor. The soul of a person’s shoe should never visibly come into the home of another or come into a public space. You needed to remove your shoes and have your feet washed. In the household, it was the job of the lowliest of servants to be the foot washer. Even today, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians remove their shoes outside the door of the church. In Arabic speaking Middle East, the very words foot or shoes are ‘four letter words’.
Our feet are not well thought of.
In Isaiah 52: 7 there is this familiar and beautiful verse, which includes 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!”
This verse describes feet as beautiful. Why? It’s not just any feet which are beautiful, but particular feet. The feet of those who bring the good news, the gospel, the news about God.
What this verse seems to be saying is that the good news of God is so amazing, so glorious, so awesome, that when you bring it, even your feet are considered beautiful. This gnarly, dirty, and unclean part of the human body cannot diminish how great the message of hope from God is.
Do you think about the gospel this way? Do you think about the good news of Jesus that way? Do you understand how God sees the gospel and those who join him in bringing it? Do you understand just how beautiful and transformative is the message you have been entrusted to bring?