Summary: Since verses 13-16, discloses how we are to Function in a world that hates us, I thought it would be helpful if we would look at One of the Functions of Salt as the Maintainer of Health. One of the primary functions of Salt is to Maintain Health, to keep
In Verses 13-16, Jesus reveals Our Function in a world that hates us, even Our Relationship to a world that has gone mad. In summing up the Attitude of Kingdom Citizens, the Lord now turns to those 12 young, eager, enthusiastic disciples who were nearest to Him on the mountain; and He says to them as well as to us: "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 under foot by men." "You are the Salt of the earth."
The statement of Jesus about us being the salt of the earth might seem minor. But to the Master’s Men, the 12 disciples, that statement had a profound, personal meaning.
To us Americans, Salt is a very Common Condiment. We don’t regard salt as being that significant or that important. It is so common that we generally have a shaker of salt on our dinner tables or kitchen counters to season our food. We also use great quantities of salt in the winter time to melt the frozen snow on our roads, bridges and walkways. To us, Salt is no big deal.
But in our Lord’s day, Salt was the Most Important Element in the Culture of His contemporaries. Salt. Salt was so special, unique and sought after that, in some societies, Salt was More Valuable Than Gold! That how valuable Salt was! It was prized above Gold! In fact, in some ancient countries, Salt was used as Legal Tender, Money. Whatever was bought or sold was paid for in Salt. During the time of our Text, the Roman soldiers were paid in Salt. And from that practice, we get the expression, "You’re not worth your salt." Salt was also the basis of Barter. Salt was treated as Money. It was very, very Valuable.
So when Jesus turned and looked at them and said, "You are the salt of the earth," He was saying to them You Are Valuable, More Precious than Gold!
Salt was so important and valuable that there were Salt Routes all over the Orient. One could see caravans of camels, mules and donkeys carrying tons of salt hundreds of miles over rough and rugged terrain.
Salt was so sought after that during this time, some people were Connoisseurs of Salt. Just as there are food connoissseurs who love to eat rare and delicate dishes and wine connoissseurs who love to drink rare and expensive wine, Salt was a delicacy during this period of time.
So, when Jesus said to them, You and you only are the salt of the earth, it affirmed their worth and dignity as men of priceless value.
For here were 12 rough, uncultured, uneducated, poor peasant Palestinians who were overlooked by the establishment, who were overlooked by their own Jewish culture, who had been trashed by society because in their eyes they had no value; and against that backdrop, here is the Lord telling them, You are the Most Valuable Commodity on the earth! And if you and I had been sitting at the feet of the Master when He made that declaration, we would have been Shouting! And in my mind’s eye, I can see the fellows looking at one another after Jesus made that statement in mixture of amazement and awe. For knowing that in their situation they didn’t have very much of anything, hearing the Matchless Master saying, "You, out of all the people on Planet Earth, are the Salt of the earth."
Now I don’t want us to get in such a hurry that we miss the Master’s Message. For I recognize the fact that this passage is so often read and discussed that we might think we already know what it is saying with all of its ramifications and implications. But if we would hush our hearts and still our suspicions, perhaps the Holy Spirit just might teach us afresh and impart new insight into old wine skins.
For the Lord is saying to all of us who are Kingdom Citizens, "You are the Salt of Lubbock. You are the Salt of your Community. You are the Salt of your Family. Because You are the Most Valuable Commodity on this earth. You are prized more highly than Gold. And even though society has written you off as worthless, Jesus says, You are Very, Very Valuable!
No doubt, the world looks at You and I and concludes that we are worthless, that we don’t pass muster, that we’ll never amount to nothing, that we are not in their echelon, that we don’t measure up to their standards. Therefore, they look down on us and count us as dung. But thank God, there’s a Scripture that says, "For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God."(Lk 16:15). And the opposite of that is also true: What God highly esteems, the world looks on it as nothing. And if the world always undervalues us, they will always take us for granted. And that works to our advantage, because they will never take us seriously. And while they are not taking us seriously, we are making serious inroads into their domains, kingdoms and turfs.