Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
We continue our Lenten series on the body of Christ, today hearing about the feet of Christ.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation.” (Is. 52:7)
If our country was at war, the good news of peace would be the only news for which we would eagerly wait. We wouldn’t care much to hear other news. What’s the latest political game of finger pointing on Parliament Hill? Who cares; when will bombs stop falling near my home? Who won the game last night? Who cares; when is my son coming home from the frontlines? What was our favourite celebrity wearing on the red carpet? Seriously? We shouldn’t even care about that now! When you are at war, the only thing you long to hear is that your warfare is ended.
How much more eagerly we should desire to hear the good news of our warfare being ended with God Almighty, Creator of the heavens and the earth. Instead of living at peace with Him, we have rebelled against Him by every sin we have committed against the Laws of His kingdom. Every sin of thought, word, and deed is an act of rebellion and open warfare against Him.
If we are not at peace with God, nothing else matters. Even news that might otherwise have some import in our lives must take a back burner if God is at war with us. How are my retirement savings doing in this market? Who cares if God is angry with me? What will the weather bring for my crops this year? Who cares if God is going to cast me into hell for my sins? How is the warfare going with Islamic militants? Who cares if God is at war with me?
We long to hear the good news of peace, that our warfare with God is ended; that our iniquity is pardoned. God sent messengers of that peace throughout the Old Testament, and He still today sends His messengers to tell His people that their sins are forgiven. But Jesus Himself was the fulfilment of proclaiming this good news as He Himself said (Luke 4:18-21). Jesus is the fulfilment of proclaiming this good news, and He also fulfilled the good news.
As Jesus fulfilled the good news with His hands, so He also fulfilled it with His feet. Jesus fulfilled the good news by walking all over the countryside proclaiming the good news as was prophesied of Him. He fulfilled it by walking on water and through His miracles which demonstrated that He is God. He fulfilled the good news by walking on the path that God has set for us to walk, but on which we have failed to walk. Jesus fulfilled the good news by His feet being nailed to the cross for us; by dying for the wandering of our feet from the path of God’s Word.
This good news is foolishness to those who are perishing (I Cor. 1:18). To those who think that God doesn’t care about their sins or that their sins aren’t that big of a deal, the cross is foolishness. God Himself wouldn’t die for something He doesn’t care about. God Himself wouldn’t die for something that isn’t that big of a deal. Thus the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing. After all, they don’t think they’re at war with God. They think they are good enough on their own without Jesus. They think the good things they’ve done outweigh the bad. That’s why they’re perishing. That’s why they’re going to hell. All our good deeds are nothing more than filthy rags before God (Is. 64:6).
For those who recognize their sins and turn away from them; for those who confess their sins and hate them; for those who realize that we need Jesus to bring us peace with God; for us the good news is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). For us the cross of Christ is salvation and peace. We realize that Jesus’ cross is the good news of peace with God.
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ because we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). It is not our own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works (Eph. 2:8-9). We have peace with God in spite of our works; in spite of what we have done and left undone. The peace we have is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The good news is that this is true peace. Peace even when the world is at war. Peace even when worldly darkness veils us. This good news is peace. This is the peace for which we pray in the hymn that God would grant us:
Peace in our hearts, where sinful thoughts are raging,
Peace in Your Church, our troubled souls assuaging,
Peace when the world its endless war is waging,
Peace in Your heaven. (LSB 659 v. 4) Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.