Summary: In verse 10 Jesus said the blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. It appears in this verse His remarks are directed to both the disciples and the multitude.
In verse 10 Jesus said the blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. It appears in this verse His remarks are directed to both the disciples and the multitude. In verse 11 it seems Jesus’ remarks are to His disciples. Persecution is the usual experience of the followers of Jesus, but it is a special portion of His messengers. This is confirmed in verse 12 where Jesus said, “For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” The disciples are in the same position as the prophets of old. The prophets were God’s spokesmen, His ambassadors. The disciples, after their training period, will be Jesus’ spokesmen, His ambassadors. Additional evidence is found in verses 13 and 14 where Jesus said, “You” are the salt and light of the world. Verse 15 is additional evidence it is the disciples Jesus is addressing. A lamp on a lamp stand refers to an official office, and giving “light to all that are in the house” plainly refers to one man ministering to the many. This passage has been taken out of its context and applied to the body of believers. While it is true the body of believers is to be like salt and a candle in this instance it is the duty of Jesus’ ambassadors He is addressing.
In Matthew 4:19 Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to be fishers of men. He also calls James and John to follow Him. From these verses it appears these fishermen would be the inner circle of Jesus’ ministry. In Matthew 5:13-14 Jesus tells those He has called to be fishers of men what He expects from them. It is only in recent generations, when the spirit of socialism invaded the organized church has this passage been applied to Christians. First, they are to be the “salt of the earth.” The Old Testament prophets were the salt of Canaan, but the apostles are to be the salt of the whole earth because they will be the first to go into the world preaching the gospel. They will train others to be the salt of the earth.
When we first consider what Jesus told His ambassadors it would appear to be discouraging. What could such a small group do in so large an area as the entire earth? They could do nothing. Here is an example for the church and its ministers to follow. If they were to use force of arms and the power of the sword they will fail, Christianity would be still born. It would be nothing more than another world religion. Working silently, as one handful of salt spreads its savor far and wide they will turn the world upside down.
The doctrine of the gospel is as salt and its penetrating power. The apostles and those called to be the Lord’s spokesmen and spokeswomen today, are to preach and teach the Word of God in such a way as to express the quality of salt. When salt is applied to a wound it stings. It is annoying. It gets a person’s attention. When salt is applied to meat it adds flavor to the meat, it preserves meat from the process of putrefaction by drawing out superfluous moisture. It is a necessity of life. It is a necessary element of the blood that is the life of our bodies. It is God’s great antiseptic in the battle against decay. How fitting it is when Jesus refers to His ambassadors as the salt of the earth. His ambassadors are warned it is salt and not sugar coated candy they are to use in their preaching.