SALT AND LIGHT
Mighty God, I praise You for the truth that nothing in life or death can separate me from Your love (Rom. 8:30).
Read MATTHEW 5:13–16
Salt and Light
13 “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 underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray that the true challenge of faith as witness within the world may come home to us.
The illustrations Jesus uses here are closely related to the beatitudes; it is when the qualities mentioned there become
embedded within the lives of disciples that they, and the community towhich they belong, become salt and light in a broken and dark world. The emphasis in these illustrations is on the presence of disciples within the world and the public visibility of their lives and actions. Jesus does not envisage His community as a withdrawn, sectarian group, making occasional attempts to preach to outsiders and expecting them to come to Christian gatherings to be converted. Salt must have contact with whatever it is intended to preserve, or it loses its purpose; light only fulfills its function when it exists in the darkness. How many models of the church and its mission in the world are challenged by these simple but powerful illustrations?
Notice too that the salt and light of the kingdom of God are clearly identified with ‘your good deeds’ (v 16), compelling observers to ‘glorify your Father in heaven’. The word ‘earth’ in verse 13 suggests that such deeds will have an impact on the created world; the gospel is not purely spiritual in character but down to earth. The significance of this at a time when creation is under terrible threat is obvious. We are also called to be ‘the light of the world’ (v 14), a term which points toward the socio-political and cultural aspects of human existence. Jesus’ reference to ‘a city on a hill’ (see v 14) may relate to His
memory, already mentioned, of growing up within sight of the new city of Sepphoris. Here He envisages His new community embodying an alternative vision of life together as they practice the values of the kingdom of God in continual sight of the watching world.
Reflect on the question raised above: which models of church and mission are challenged by Jesus’ words?
Father God, I admit my natural inclination is to withdraw into my circle of Christian friends. Push me out into the broken and dark world to be salt and light, pointing to the hope You can bring.
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