SALT AND LIGHT
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13,14).
Read MATTHEW 5:13–20
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.
The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of 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.
What a grave responsibility is laid upon us as followers of Jesus: functioning as both salt and light in order to influence others. May we never default on this obligation.
Jesus uses two metaphors to describe the healthy influence we have in the world. These two metaphors of salt and light are deliberately phrased to show that they belong together. Jesus made an affirmative statement in both metaphors: “You are the salt of the earth” is paired with “You are the light of the world.” Each is followed by the purpose of the affirmation—the salt is to retain its saltiness for its preservative function, and the light is to shine in darkness so that others may see the good deeds of the followers of Jesus. If both the salt and light lose their effectiveness, they become worthless.
The church is called to be both salt and light in the world—salt to hinder societal decay and light to dispel darkness. These two metaphors identify responsibilities that God has placed on us. We are not to isolate ourselves from the public square. However small our part may be, we cannot be silent. We cannot opt out from speaking against the unrighteousness, injustice and corruption that we see in our community and our nation. We are to uphold law enforcement, rights for minorities, and the dignity of every individual created in the image of God. The only hope for the world today is for the Christian community to pursue its purpose—to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Jesus has come to earth in part to affirm these things. He is not nullifying the Old Testament Law, as he claims, but rather fulfilling the spirit of it all. He then warns against anyone who teaches precepts that are contrary to what he seeks to establish.
Remember that darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. It is in the darkness of night that light shines the brightest.
Lord, help us to understand the deeper current underlying Your priceless words in this passage.