Summary: Understanding that part of Jesus' sermon on the mount describing followers as being Salt and Light.


February 9, 2020

Matthew 5:13-20

You Are Called to Be the Salt of the Earth and Light the Light of the World

The Reading

Believers Are Salt and Light

13 “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.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one [a]jot or one [b]tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Message

I put salt on just about everything that I eat. I like salt on my eggs, all vegetables, most fruit – especially apples and grapefruit, and all meat. I like salt.

My father used to say that a pig will eat anything unless it is too salty. Yes, I am like that pig, if it is too salty I can’t eat it.

Jesus says in our reading that we are the salt of the earth. What does He mean? Let’s break that down into three specific and known characteristics of salt.

1. Salt has always been a means of purification. The most pronounced example that I find in the bible for salt being a purifying agent is found in the Book of Ezekiel. New-born babies were rubbed in salt at birth to purify their bodies. In Kings 2:20, we read that Elisha pours a bowl of salt into a contaminated spring or well, which was immediately purified for safe drinking.

16 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: “Your [a]birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling clothes. Ezekiel 16:1-4

20 And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So, they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘I have [a]healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’ ” 22 So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke. 2 Kings 2-20

Purifying with salt is not just an ancient use. Modern day water purification is often done by using salt. See article from:

“portable water treatment device, made from ordinary materials, that could quickly treat large quantities of water. The answer came from a very basic process, electrolysis, which uses just table salt and the electricity provided by a car battery to produce chlorine gas for disinfecting water.

At the request of WaterStep, a nonprofit working to provide clean water to people in 26 developing countries around the world, GE engineers Steve Froelicher and Sam DuPlessis, along with other volunteers, began developing a water treatment system in his garage. After a year and a number of prototypes, Froelicher and his team had developed a workable design:

"The device fits inside a 10-inch PVC cylinder with two plastic tubes attached at the top. It strips chlorine from saltwater by applying battery voltage across a circular membrane, a process called electrolysis. The chlorine bubbles off one of the electrodes and floats to the top where the device captures it and mixes it with contaminated water. The chlorine begins to oxidize organic matter and kills the pathogens in the water. The water is usually safe to drink two hours after chlorination." -

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