How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
In his book entitled Night, Elie Wiesel tells the story of a man named Moshe who lived in the town of Sighet in Transylvania where Wiesel grew up. In 1942, at the age of twelve, Wiesel had began to be mentored by this barefoot Jewish mystic. Wiesel tells of how one day the Hungarian police loaded all of the foreign-born Jews onto cattle trains and shipped them away. Moshe was one of those Jews. The native Jews with Wiesel eventually came to accept this as a reality of the war, until one day Moshe returned.
"He told his story and that of his companions. The train full of deportees had crossed the Hungarian frontier and on Polish territory had been taken in charge by the Gestapo. There it had stopped. The Jews had to get out and climb into lorries. The lorries drove toward a forest. The Jews were made to get out. They were made to dig huge graves. And when they had finished their work, the Gestapo began theirs. Without passion, without haste, they slaughtered their prisoners. Each one had to go up to the hole and present his neck. Babies were thrown into the air and the machine gunners used them as targets. This was in the forest of Galicia, near Kolomaye. How had Moshe...escaped? Miraculously. He was wounded in the leg and taken for dead..."*
Wiesel tells of how Moshe went from house to house warning the Jews of what the Gestapo had done, but nobody believed him. Maybe he has gone mad, they said. Perhaps he is just looking for sympathy. "And as for Moshe, he wept. Jews listen to me. It's all I ask of you. I don't want money or pity. Only listen to me."* They would not listen to Moshe but perhaps the saddest part of Wiesel's account is that as days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, eventually Moshe stopped telling his story. Later Wiesel and many others from Sighet witnessed the horrors of the Nazi hatred for Jews firsthand, but Moshe had long given up hope of convincing them of the terror that lay ahead.
May we never grow tired of warning people about Hell, because unlike Moshe we have good news to tell as well. We have a Savior who has already fought the enemy and has already won the victory for all those who will believe. He commanded us to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [He commanded us]” (Matthew 28:19-20a). And so we must go! We must go and tell even when they won't listen. Even when they tell us to stop. Even when they threaten our lives. We must tell... in love, in gentleness, and in humility. And we must go to wherever there are those who haven't heard and to wherever there are those who have rejected the message. May we never lose heart. May we never give up proclaiming the good news of His glorious gospel!
For further reading....
*Wiesel, Elie. Night. : Bantam Books, 1960. Pages 4, 5.