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Summary: Jesus takes a simple image – no ambiguity - no hidden meanings - nothing out of the ordinary -- just common, everyday salt. Like the parables, Jesus uses a simple, concrete object to teach the people a profound lesson about the Kingdom of Heaven.

TITLE: PLEASE, PASS THE SALT

SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 5:13

Michelle and I enjoy entertaining by preparing meals for our friends and guests. The oven is usually going or the smoker is fired up in the backyard. On Saturday mornings I enjoy cooking breakfast for the family and oftentimes have a few friends join us. Because Michelle and I both have suffered with high blood pressure for years, we have stopped cooking with Salt some years ago and replaced it with various salt substitutes.

Truth be told, most people use too much salt which is really not good for your overall health in the long run. Yet, I can assure you at almost every meal we host, someone at the table will eventually say, “PLEASE PASS THE SALT.”

• Sometimes we see those around us put Salt on their food before ever tasting it

• Sometimes we see those around us pour Salt on their food, simply out of habit

• We have a grandchild, no matter what meal is being served this one grandchild is always reaching for the salt shaker

Jesus told His disciples in our text this morning -- "YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS SALTINESS, HOW CAN IT BE MADE SALTY AGAIN? IT IS NO LONGER GOOD FOR ANYTHING, EXCEPT TO BE THROWN OUT AND TRAMPLED BY MEN.” What did Jesus mean by this metaphor? In studying for this message, I found there are many references to Salt in the Scriptures --

• 43 references to Salt in my Bible Concordance

• We know Lot’s wife was turned into a Pillar of Salt – that’s worth preaching all by itself

• David won two battles over the EDOMITES, as did AMAZIAH a little later, in the Valley of Salt, thought to have been a large area of salt marshes in a desert valley in Israel -- II SAMUEL 8:13/I CHRONICLES 18:12

• The Bible also refers to the SALT SEA several times, better known today as the DEAD SEA

• The Dead Sea has the highest concentration of salt of any body of water in the world

• In fact, the concentration of salt in the Dead Sea is ten (10x) times greater than any Sea or Lake on earth

• Every liter of its water contains an average of 30 Grams of Salt and other minerals

In the ancient biblical world, salt was a precious commodity. It gave flavor and zest to Food –

• It served as an important preservative

• Salt also made people thirst for something more

• Jesus wanted his disciples to give flavor and zest to the world through His teaching

• To Preserve the truth as He proclaimed it to the world

• To make the world thirst for more

Jesus takes a simple image – no ambiguity - no hidden meanings - nothing out of the ordinary -- just common, everyday salt. Like the parables, Jesus uses a simple, concrete object to teach the people a profound lesson about the Kingdom of Heaven. Let me footnote here and say, I appreciate the Parables - Thoughts - Metaphors - of Jesus because we are living in a day and age where Christians, Preachers are always trying to say something deep and most of the time it sounds ridiculous! Jesus kept it simple.

In this case, found in our text, the meaning is clear: Just as a pinch of salt unlocks the flavor of, say, a whole Pot of Stew, so can a small band of believers transform the world around them into the Kingdom of God. Jesus could have taken the metaphor in a number of directions. For example –

• Before refrigeration, Salt was used as a Preservative

• It killed the bacteria and kept the food from going bad

• In much the same way, Salt is an Antiseptic

• It is not a pleasant feeling to throw Salt on an open wound, but it kills the Germs

• It’s also a Fertilizer

• Don’t ask me how this works, but, in small quantities, the same chemical that kills bacteria can make things grow

• In ancient days, Salt was used as Currency, a form of Exchange

• It’s the root of our word, “Salary”

• It’s what we mean when we say -- A Man’s Worth his Salt

• Or we say – He is Not Worth His Weight in Salt

Also, the Old Testament refers to God’s Covenant with Israel as a “SALT COVENANT” II CHRONICLES 13:5 – “OUGHT YE NOT TO KNOW THAT THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL GAVE THE KINGDOM OVER ISRAEL TO DAVID FOREVER, EVEN TO HIM AND TO HIS SONS BY A COVENANT OF SALT?” It’s a passage we tend to overlook. Jesus could have used salt in a number of ways, but He didn’t. He stuck with what we all know.

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