October 28, 2012

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.”
—Matthew 5:13-14


Jesus used parables for many reasons. But the parables we have read today describe how the Christian community is to act in today’s culture.

We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Since the earth is made up of ground and sky, Jesus emphasizes that Christians are responsible to share the necessary spiritual energy for both. In the ancient world farmers used salt in small quantities to fertilize their crops. In the same way the Christian community fertilizes the world. Light is needed so that we can see. Christian truths provide light like the sun for the eye of the world to focus correctly.

Both of these word pictures include a warning as well. Impure salt can lose its saltiness. So can we. And a covering placed over a candle can suffocate the flame. Through wrong habits or sinful neglect, we can emit dimmer and dimmer light till only a flicker remains.

But thankfully Christ is the light of the world—so luminous that the Christian community can shine more brightly with each generation. When the light of God’s Word shines on us, the brightness of the city of God cannot be hidden. Jesus pours out his Spirit daily so that Christians—like salt—can produce a thirst for Christ, melt hard hearts and frozen human ideologies, and preserve the values of the Christian faith. What a wonderful identity we have in Christ!

Thank you, Father. With Christ in us we are the salt of the earth and light of the world, in your name! Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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