"At his feet."

Luke 7:37-50; Luke 10:39-42; Luke 17:12-19.

F. A. Hughes.

MAR/APR 1965

There is something very beautiful in the way Luke commences his gospel narrative in which the glory and preciousness of Christ in holy Manhood is presented. Luke speaks of "eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word." The word used for "ministers" denotes a subordinate position, a fitting attitude for one who sought to write of the Man Christ Jesus! Scripture reveals the affinity which so evidently existed between Luke and the apostle Paul, and we are therefore not surprised when Paul refers to himself in the same way, "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ" (1 Corinthians 4:1).

As he proceeds Luke makes several references to the feet of Jesus, and in the three incidents to which attention is called in this paper there seems to be a most beautiful moral progression. In Isaiah 52 we read those well-known words — "How beautiful . . are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings." Do we not see a reflection of these words in Luke 4? "He (Jesus) came to Nazareth . . and . . He went into the synagogue." His blessed feet took Him there in order that the prophecy of Isaiah might be fulfilled in Himself.

The Old Testament word "beautiful" carries amongst other meanings that of "to be at home." Is not this an outstanding thought in the incident in Luke 7? The cold, unsympathetic atmosphere of Simon's house, with its Pharisaical self-righteousness, would have repelled the woman "which was a sinner," but she found a welcome at the feet of Jesus. How striking that those beautiful feet should be mentioned six times in a few verses! She stood at His feet behind Him." Her tears of contrition flowed unceasingly, and her whole attitude manifested her appreciation of the One who alone could measure the extent of her guilt (verse 47), and at the same time would give to her the knowledge of frank forgiveness. Those blessed feet brought to her the compassions of God manifested in Jesus. Her sin-burdened heart was relieved, allowing her affections to flow out responsively to the One whose feet had brought Him here "to seek and to save that which was lost," (Luke 19:10).

In Luke 10 we read of "Mary, who . . having sat down at the feet of Jesus, was listening to His word" (New Trans.). It was an atmosphere of contentment, and of restfulness. "Mary has chosen the good part;" her action was the reflection of her innermost affections; she was neither actuated nor restrained by the scene of activities around. The portion she chose was not merely outwardly right, it was intrinsically good, and above all else she received the commendation of her Lord, with the assurance that what she had chosen should not be taken from her.

Have those beautiful feet such attraction for us today? In their holy movements of condescending grace and love they have brought to us the knowledge of forgiveness; do we make opportunities of quietly sitting before the One who has so blessed us? There are many services in which we may rightly be engaged, services which He whom we serve will rightly appraise, but "the good part" is occupation with Himself, listening to the revelations of love in His communications to us. The imperative tense of the verb "hath-chosen" shows an absolutely fixed determination on Mary's part, and this element of definiteness is essential if this "good part" is to be experienced and enjoyed. Service down here will cease; occupation with Christ will be our eternal portion, but it can be ours now. We have the Lord's own word that, if we choose it, nothing can take it from us, and we are assured that such desire on our part will yield joy to the Lord Himself.

In Luke 17 we see a man, a cleansed leper, "on his face at His feet". Standing; sitting; falling down at His feet! The lower we go, the greater Christ becomes to us. Rejoicing in His grace which brings salvation; enjoying the sweetness and intimacy of His company; feeding upon His word; the greatness and glory of His holy Person flooding our spirits, we are moved in our affections towards Him in praise and worship, and thus "give glory to God."

In conclusion may we quote Peter's words — "For even hereunto were ye called . . that ye should follow His steps." Again the verb "should-follow" denotes a fixed determination, and if we are helped by the Spirit's power to so commit ourselves we shall find the joy that belongs to those of whom Paul speaks in Romans 10 — "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of great things." Feet that once knew not "the way of peace," now brought through the revolutionizing power of the "gospel of God" into alignment with the beautiful steps of Jesus, usable in the testimony of the Lord now, soon to be usable to the "God of peace" as He crushes (that is the full meaning of the word) the power of Satan under the feet of the saints (Romans 16:20).

Lord Jesus! we worship and bow at Thy feet,
And give Thee the glory, the honour that's meet;
While through Thee, O Saviour, our praises ascend
And swell the loud chorus that never shall end.