But verses 20-21 speak of a Redeemer, a glorious Covenant Maker and Keeper, who saves his people perfectly. The first 19 verses seem so radically contradictory to the last two verses, but that is where grace enters. I want to focus on a single line from Isaiah 59 to make this point:
Their feet run to evil. – Isaiah 59:7One line from one verse, but it is the beginning of an utterly amazing gospel truth. This verse applies to every sinner, it applies to me, it applies to you dear reader, and because of our sinful flight to sin, we are indicted with the rest of mankind for our rebellion against God. If you don’t believe me, turn to Romans 3:15 where this verse is used by the Apostle Paul to demonstrate that you and I are locked under the law.
As if it couldn’t get worse, Proverbs 6:16-19 mirrors this verse,
…the LORD hates…feet that make haste to run to evil…O! Reader! These implications are serious, for our sins we have earned the hatred of God, the wrath of God abides on us. He has declared an utmost hatred for the things our feet have taken us to do. What then, should we blame our appendages for our sins? Jesus says,
If your foot causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. – Matthew 18:8We cannot blame our hands, feet, eyes, or bodies for our sins, for these are but highly complex machines that are operated by our souls. We cannot blame our feet for taking us to sin, because our soul is the culprit for its destinations and its actions, and we will be held accountable. I hope that you see just from this one line in one verse in Isaiah 59 that you fall completely indicted with all of mankind and stand in danger of judgment. To quote Al Mohler, “Everything the Father has against you is true.”
But, beloved, I told you this is the beginning of an amazing gospel truth. Follow me to John 13, the night of the Last Supper, the night before Jesus Christ made his payment on a cross to prove himself the Redeemer spoken of in Isaiah 59:20-21. He gathered a basin of water, knelt down before his disciples, and began to wash their feet; an act of abject humility, of doing the work of a slave, of not being served, but serving, for within a day he would give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” – John 13:6-8O Beloved! Do you see it? Your king has in one act of love atoned for your sins, appeased the wrath of God, and cleansed you from all iniquity. Take a moment to think on your own sins, where have your feet taken you and what have you done there that would have equaled your eternal ruin had it not been for the obedience of your Redeemer to seek and save you? Beloved, now think on your Saviour, think on his feet, at this very moment he is in Heaven making intercession for you, he will stand to welcome you home (Acts 17:55-56), and when he stands, he will stand on feet with the scars of crucifixion forever emblazed as reminders of his faithfulness. Saint, you have heard the lyric, “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King should die for me?” I can scarce hold back tears to add, “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King should wash my feet?”
This is an amazing gospel truth, but let me make it utterly amazing for you,
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!Your Lord and your King looks on your feet, feet that heretofore had been covered in filth and had made haste to fly to sin, and he declares them to be beautiful. Not by anything we’ve done, but because we have a Redeemer who came and walked among us, who washed not only our feet but our hands, head, and soul as well (1 Corinthians 6:11), who took every indictment of Isaiah 59 and declared himself guilty of every charge while declaring us innocent. His hands, his side, and his feet were pierced for our iniquities, but his is the chastisement that has brought us peace in his glorious gospel. His prophet Nahum proclaimed the gospel of the beautiful feet of Jesus this way,
– Romans 10:15
Behold! Upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! – Nahum 1:15Now beloved, with your cleansed, holy, beautiful feet, imitate your Saviour who loved you, humbled himself, and gave himself for you. Walk in the paths of righteousness he has prepared before time for you to walk (Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 23:3), for shoes for your feet put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and stand proclaiming to the nations, “Your God, though he was dead, yet he lives! He reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10:14-16Amazing love, how can it be, that my King would wash my feet?