More than 6,000 people groups around the world have not heard the Gospel, while the percentage of people abandoning the faith in which they were raised is escalating.
Now more than ever, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is a matter of urgency.
Even during the times of the early church, Paul was keenly aware of this urgency. In Romans 10:15, he quotes Isaiah 52:7 when he writes, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” Interestingly, the original Greek word for “beautiful” is horaios, meaning “timely; for the right hour or season.”
Wherever (or to whom ever) God calls us to proclaim the Gospel, we must do it swiftly—with urgency, since “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
It is clear to most people who have read and studied Paul’s letters in the Bible that his main objective in life—and his passion—was to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who had not heard, and even to those who had previously rejected him.
Why would he quote an Old Testament book to convey the urgency of the Gospel?
The word “gospel” actually has Old Testament roots. Isaiah 52:7 states, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news…” The original Hebrew text uses the word bisar, which not only means “good news,” but “good news” that carries the connotation of victory in battle!
The Israelites believed God was actively involved in their lives (including battles and wars), so bisar came to have a religious connotation. To proclaim the good news of Israel’s success was to proclaim God’s triumph over His own enemies.
And when they proclaimed good news of God’s delivery from their enemies, it made sense to proclaim the good news of God’s delivery from personal distress (like we read throughout much of the Pslams).
The Israelites had just been loosed from their chains of oppression. Moses was urging them to stand and proclaim that they did, indeed, have victory over their oppressors, only through God’s power. Granted, salvation was not at stake since they were God’s covenant people, but victorious living was.
Just as the Israelites were urged to proclaim God’s kingship in Zion, we are called to proclaim to the rest of the world, that they, too, can have victory over their foes: Satan, sin and death.
We live in a hurting world that needs to know the Good News of victory—the Good News that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. And we need not let another hour go by before we tell them. The hour is now.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Read Isaiah 52:1-7
- Do you notice anything peculiar about the instructions he gave the captive Israelites?
- Why do you think He would have said such a thing?
- In verses 7-12, underline the verbs used to describe the actions of the Lord on behalf of his sealed people.
- We know that their bondage was not due to God’s powerlessness. He freely handed them—His covenant people—over to their captors. Why would He do such a thing?