Summary: "Salt and Light" is a part of the Sermon on the Mount series. We look at both the qualities of being salt (creates thirst, a seasoning, part of the sacrifice, and preservative), and light (exposes and guides).
Sermon on the Mount
“Salt and Light”
There are two things that we value that seem so insignificant at first, they don’t even come up on our radar, but they’re actually needed for our survival.
The first is salt. Too little of it and your food can be under seasoned, but too much can ruin the taste of your food.
The second is light. We all need light to navigate at night or in the dark, otherwise we’ll run into something and/or stub our toe and then wail in totally agony.
After giving us the beatitudes, or the blessed "be’s," where Jesus talks about what our attitude as Christians need to be, He then moves into what type on influence we need to have within the world.
Jesus is saying, “Those who are My disciples need affect the world in a positive way, not only by the way they live their lives, but also in the words they say.
Let’s take a moment and look at this section.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Let’s take a moment and look at the first element.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)
Salt represents our influence in the world in the way we ought to be.
In ancient times salt was seen as a necessity of life thus great value was placed upon it. Because of its seasoning and preservative qualities salt was one of the most highly prized minerals.
Salt was so important that it was often times used for money, or monetary compensation. In fact, the English word for salary is derived from the Latin word “salarium,” and refers to the payments made to a Roman soldier with salt. The phrase, “Worth their salt,” was derived from this very practice.
Today we really don’t think a lot about salt, that is, unless we have high blood pressure or eating a steak. Most often we think of salt as that condiment that sits on the top of a dining table along with pepper in a bottle with holes in the top. In other words we don’t pay a lot of attention to it.
But back in the days of Jesus people thought a lot about salt placing a great value on this commodity because they were entirely dependent upon it.
So when Jesus likens his disciples to salt, what He meant is that we should be one of the most highly prized and valued people group in the world. So let’s take a moment and look at what salt does and then what we need to do to become this very thing.
Salt Creates Thirst
If you’ve ever eaten anything that’s really salty you know what I mean.
Whenever we come into a setting, whether it’s business or social, others should see evidence of the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives. They should be able to look at us and say, “I want what they have.”
Like salt, Christians should promote thirst for Jesus. Our job as Christians is to make others thirsty for Jesus, because Jesus is the living water that leads to everlasting life. To the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus said concerning Himself,
“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14 NKJV)
As salt creates thirst we, as the salt of the earth, should be creating that thirst within others for Jesus
Salt is a Seasoning
Salt has always been used as one of the most important food seasoning there is. Even judges on cooking shows judge dishes as not having enough salt. Such a small substance makes all the difference in the world. Even though salt is so small and yet hardly noticeable it makes a difference when applied to the substance.
Job said, “Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?” (Job 6:6 NKJV)
As salt we should then be seasoning everything we do with Jesus and the Gospel message.