Matthew 5:13-16 – We know that large crowds were following Jesus as He went around to teach and heal people in different towns. Jesus was seeking out the ones who were outcasts and were despised. Jesus was speaking to people who believed Him and were receptive to Him.
Jesus had just started His ministry and had just called His disciples. There were likely people here who were just curious, but there were many who had listened to John the Baptist preach and were ready to follow Jesus. Some of them had probably had a family member or friend healed by Jesus.
What is Jesus saying?
In this day of sodium-free, calorie-free food we may not appreciate salt as much as we should. We do at least know that it helps make our food better.
The most conspicuous light is the sun. Jesus doesn’t compare us to the sun, but rather to a city on a hill or a small candle in a dark room. We take lamps and light for granted, but the concept remains, if we want to use lights we shouldn’t hide them.
What does Jesus mean with these comparisons?
Is Jesus saying that you are unique and have a special job to do but there are ways you can mess it up? Like salt losing its saltiness. If salt isn’t salty it isn’t much good, at least as “salt.” In the same way, if we have lost our saltiness, our passion, our fear of the Lord we aren’t much good for the Kingdom of God either.
When you are persecuted, don’t retreat, follow Me!
How can we be salt & light?
Be real, be genuine
None of us are perfectly christlike, but when we see things in our lives that don’t measure up to Christ’s standard we should take note of that and with God’s help do better.
We won’t ever attain the level of Jesus, but that should be our goal, to be as real as we can be. The real salt of the earth.
Shine with what you’ve been given
Sometimes our affectedness can be limited by feelings of inadequacy or discouragement.
How can we offer hope to people when we struggle with hopelessness ourselves? How can we share the gospel when we don’t see as much evidence of it in our lives as we would like? Maybe we are like a lamp under a bowl and not shining as brightly as we should.
Look to Jesus, the Light of the World, to brighten your light. Jesus invites people to come to him who are weary and burdened. Go back to the light, soak in His brightness.
Sometimes we can become so focused on ourselves that we miss the opportunities to do good things for those around us. Are we looking for these opportunities are we feeling too sorry for our own selves?
Hebrews 3:13 – We can encourage each other. If we are feeling discouragement maybe others are as well, and maybe we can help them to feel less discouraged. There are a lot of hurting people around us.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – Remember what you have, there is a hope that we have. We have access to the Father, the Light of the World. What a privilege that is! We may not feel like we have it together all the time, but we know where to go for help and direction. An honest growing Christian is a bright light.
The two primary lessons here.
We have to be real, we have to have the character of Jesus and be yielded to the Spirit to affect the world around us. When Christians are real it makes the Kingdom of God much more attractive to those around us.
Shine with what you’ve been given. Get the focus off of yourself, look to Jesus as your source of hope, and point people to Him as the ultimate source of hope as well.
Other passages mentioned: Genesis 39:4-5, 2 Kings 5:1-14, James 5