When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome when he said
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”. He was quoting from;
Isaiah 52:7-10 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion.9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed jerusalem.10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. (Bold mine)
What's This Good News?
This is one of the earliest usages of “Good news,” or as we would say today “the gospel.”
The word "gospel" comes from the Greek word evangelion (translated in Old English as "good news" or "good spell"). The term implies and includes salvation - literally meaning, the message that saves us.
So what is the good news being proclaimed by Isaiah? Isaiah is talking about a time when Jerusalem is desolate. Its ruination was no accident—it was God’s punishment for Judah’s long disobedience. Before Jerusalem’s destruction, God tried to call his people back to himself. He was patient beyond all reasonable bounds. He tried to win them with kindness. He tried to warn them with discipline. But they would not listen.
Isaiah 6:10 (NKJV)10 "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."
Finally, He sent Babylon to deliver His punishment and destroy Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV)30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!
He even abandoned his Temple
In the first chapter of Ezekiel the prophet saw a vision of the glory of God while he was among the exiles in Babylon. In that vision God showed Him that He was abandoning the temple. Which was the place of God’s presence. It indicated that He had had it with Israel’s disobedience.
Ezekiel 10:3-4 (NKJV)3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court.4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.
Ezekiel 10:18-19 (NKJV)18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
It seemed as though human rebellion finally overwhelmed God’s gracious plan to bless the nations and restore creation. But then Isaiah announces, “Good news!” What is the news? “Your God reigns!” God has not given up on Israel, so there is hope for the world. God promises a day when he will establish his reign on earth and bring about his great restoration.
Isaiah 52:7 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
The figure who accomplishes this is an unlikely hero: a suffering servant.
Isaiah 52:13-14 (NKJV)13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;
This servant ransoms and cleanses God’s people with his own blood.
Isaiah 53:5-9 (NKJV)5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Kings and rulers mocked him at his death
Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Afterward they realized that his apparent defeat was actually His victory
Isaiah 53:12 (NKJV)12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
So they exalt him as king of kings and lord of lords.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That good news is that Jesus, the suffering servant, reigns! Jesus brought about his rule by defeating, cleansing and ransoming a people for God. Isaiah spoke of this messenger to Israel before he ever arrived. We must hear his message and trust it before it is totally fulfilled at the return of Jesus. Your God reigns. That's good news!