Sermon on the Mount: Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, ESV)
Journal: Jesus uses to common objects as analogies to describe the purpose his disciples were to serve in the world. In both cases, he called it pointless for them to be disciples if they cease doing the things they were called to do. Salt is the first object they are told to be like. Salt was used for a multitude of uses. First, it was used to give flavor to food, but it only took a little to salt to flavor the entire dish. Likewise, the disciples were a small group at this point. They would not be able to impact the world through military force or power. Instead, they would have to allow their flavor to seep into the world to which they were called to minister. A little bit goes a long way. The second use of salt was to preserve food. The disciples were called to preserve the gospel for future generations. The third use of salt was to establish a covenant (Old Testament) between to parties. Likewise, the disciples were mediators of the new covenant between God and his people through the gospel of Jesus. Light is the second basic concept. Light is used to lead to the way, as in leading the way to Jesus. It was also used to show what was hiding in dark places. This meant the disciples were also called to shed light on the sin and misdirection of the world, and to light the way back to the right path. It does no good for a flashlight to be turned off, so it is also not useful for a disciple to not use the light within to guide the way for others. To simplify, we are called to be the salt and light of the world in that we share the gospel, lead people away from the darkness, and guide them towards the gospel which is being preserved for all peoples.