Matt 5:13-16 Salt and Light
Jesus is speaking to the same audience as last week with the Beatitudes.
Here, Jesus calls us salt.
What is salt?
It’s a preservative… but it also has cleansing properties.
How does that apply to us? How are we salt?
“…salt, the most indispensable necessity of life. The disciples… are the highest good, the supreme value which the earth possesses, for without them it cannot live. They are the salt that sustains the earth.”
It’s ironic, the very thing the world needs the most, they reject. Like an Asthma patient rejecting oxygen.
“In casting out the disciples the earth is destroying its very life. And yet…it is for the sake of the outcasts that the earth is allowed to continue.”
Bonhoeffer points out that Jesus didn’t call himself salt. He called his followers salt.
“Ye are salt.”
Did you catch that?
We ARE salt.
Not, “we have salt to offer the world” or “we will become salt”.
We ARE salt.
It doesn’t matter if we want the responsibility that comes with being salt.
We ARE salt!
We preserve and we cleanse.
It’s part of the package deal of accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. You sign up to follow Him, and you’re automatically salt.
But what happens when we lose the very essence of what makes us salt? How can we preserve the world if we no longer retain the qualities of salt?
Ever eat bland food?
What do you add to it to make it taste better?
Salt can be added as a seasoning to anything.
However, nothing can be added to salt to make it better.
Once it loses its flavor, nothing can save it.
It must be thrown out.
Time to get knew salt.
“That is the judgment which always hangs over the disciple community, whose mission is to save the world, but which, if it ceases to live up to that mission, is itself irretrievable lost. The call of Jesus Christ means either that we are the salt of the earth, or else we are annihilated; either we follow the call or we are crushed beneath it. There is no question of a second chance.”
That’s a tough pill to swallow.
But maybe it wouldn’t be if our churches didn’t water down the word of God so often…ouch!
Jesus says, “Ye are the light.”
Not, “we have to become the light”.
We ARE the light.
Not, “we have the light” (such as our preaching).
The light IS US!
Here, Jesus calls Himself light and His followers light.
Light shines. It’s what it does.
We ARE light.
We don’t have to do anything to shine except follow the call of Christ.
He makes us the light. Because of Him we shine!
However, lights can be hidden.
“A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him.”
We have a choice.
We can decide to cover our lights.
Why would we do that?
Matt 5:16 tells us we are to let our lights shine so the world may see our works- NOT so they can see US.
Again, Jesus admonishes us to deny our own righteousness.
We get no credit or glory for the works we do.
To God, all the glory belongs.
After all, it is HIS light IN us that’s shining through.
And how can it shine except by works? (Look back to the Beatitudes to see how our lights shine)
We are not saved by works.
However, works highlight the cross. They shine on Calvary, showing others why we are different.
When we take the glory, desire the spotlight and say “look at me” we are not shining the light of the cross but the light of the world. The true light of God is hidden. The world knows fake lights- it’s full of them.
We must check our motives and then, our lights will shine and bring glory to God.
“Jesus does not say that men will see God; they will see the good works and glorify God for them…It is by seeing the cross and the community beneath it that men come to believe in God.”
1. What are your thoughts on being salt? Do you think Bonhoeffer is wrong in saying either we are salt or we are annihilated?
2. We’ve all seen churches water down the word of God. How do you think that is affecting the overall saltiness of our community?
3. How is the health of your own salt and light? Are you pointing others to the cross or confusing them with odd flavors and dull lighting?