Summary: This message looks at what happens when we behave the way we are supposed to behave.
Over the past four weeks I’ve been speaking about what Jesus said about our behaviour, and if you were looking for a specific list of what we can do and can’t do you’ve been disappointed. Jesus didn’t provide a detailed list but instead insisted that our relationship with God would lead to proper behaviour. And he did provide some warnings telling people that there were certain behaviours that would indicate that there were problems with that relationship, and even indicated that people who exhibited those behaviours weren’t in a relationship with him, regardless of what they might claim.
The problem with lists is that if anything falls outside the list we assume that behaviour is alright. And so we hear people who are involved in behaviour who are saying “Well Jesus didn’t say anything about . . .” And you can fill in the blank.
And so Jesus painted a picture with broad strokes, a picture of people who respected and loved God and one another. When Jesus was looking for a metaphor to describe those who behaved this way he reached out to and latched on to an unlikely pair. Jesus told those who followed him, that their behaviours would make them like Salt and Light. And while they might seem confusing to us to those he was talking to it was probably an “Ahhh!” moment.
We don’t know exactly who all had gathered around Jesus to hear him speak that day, but we have some hints. Back at the beginning of the chapter, when this day began, you might remember we were told in Matthew 5:1-2 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them. Did you catch that, Jesus saw the crowds gathering but he went up to the mountainside and his disciples gathered around and he began to teach them.
So it was not crowds of semi interested people who had gathered around, it wasn’t the uninterested who were listening to the message that day it was people who were seeking the truth, who had already in some way committed themselves to following Jesus.
Now we don’t know who all was there that day but we were introduced to four of them not long before Jesus began to teach and it was the four fisherman, Andrew, Peter, James and John. Four fisherman and I’m pretty sure that they were the ones who had the eureka moment when Jesus talked about Salt and Light.
Salt and light, that was something they knew about because every night they made their way safely to shore by following the lights set out for them and every day they took the fish that they hadn’t sold fresh and they covered them in salt to preserve them for the next day. And so when Jesus looked out at his disciples and said “You are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world” Andrew and Peter and James and John all looked at each other and went “Ahhh, salt and light, that’s cool.”
But here we are two thousand years later and instead of saying “ahhhh” we saying “Huh? Salt? Light?”