The Feet of Jesus
March 1, 2009

“They pierced my hands and my feet.” The voice is the voice of David, but we know from the gospels that the words describe Jesus on the cross. Jesus is fixed to the cross by nails through his feet.

Feet are associated with strength and dominion. A conqueror tramples his enemies under his feet, and places his foot on the neck of his enemies. An enthroned king makes his enemies a footstool for His feet. God created man to have dominion, and place all things under his feet.

But of Jesus it is said, “They pierced His hands and His feet.” To all appearances he is no king, and He hardly seems a man.

Jesus’ pierced feet are the feet of a slave; they are the feet of one conquered, not of a conqueror. When Joseph was taken to Egypt, the put fetters on his feet; when Israel went into exile, the Babylonians chained their feet. Jesus’ feet are the feet of an exile, who is not free to walk where He pleases.

It is a paradox that Jesus’ feet are pierced, but that paradox is the paradox of the gospel. It is not merely that Jesus’ pierced feet will one day be placed on His enemies as if on a footstool. Even on the cross, the feet of this slave are the feet of a king. The cross is the footstool of His feet, the place where His enemies are subdued. It is before the crucified Jesus that we bow in reverence for our King.

Jesus’ feet are also the feet of a priest. In the priestly ordination rite, blood from the ram of ordination was placed on the right ear lobe, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the priest. A bloody head, a bloody hand, a bloody foot – that is what consecrates a priest.

Yahweh promised through Isaiah to “beautify the place of [His] sanctuary” and “make the place of [His] feet glorious.” That is the cross, the beautified sanctuary, the glorious place of the Lord’s feet.

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