Matthew 5:13 - 16
ESV - 13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
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Matthew 5:13-15 Salt and Light 5:13 “You are the salt 1 of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, 2 how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 5:15 People 3 do not light a lamp and put it under a basket 4 but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 1 sn Salt was used as seasoning or fertilizer (BDAG 41 s.v. ἅλας a), or as a preservative. If salt ceased to be useful, it was thrown away. With this illustration Jesus warned about a disciple who ceased to follow him. 2 sn The difficulty of this saying is understanding how salt could lose its flavor since its chemical properties cannot change. It is thus often assumed that Jesus was referring to chemically impure salt, perhaps a natural salt which, when exposed to the elements, had all the genuine salt leached out, leaving only the sediment or impurities behind. Others have suggested that the background of the saying is the use of salt blocks by Arab bakers to line the floor of their ovens; under the intense heat these blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally being thrown out as unserviceable. A saying in the Talmud (b. Bekhorot 8b) attributed to R. Joshua ben Chananja (ca. A.d. 90), when asked the question “When salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?” is said to have replied, “By salting it with the afterbirth of a mule.” He was then asked, “Then does the mule (being sterile) bear young?” to which he replied: “Can salt lose its flavor?” The point appears to be that both are impossible. The saying, while admittedly late, suggests that culturally the loss of flavor by salt was regarded as an impossibility. Genuine salt can never lose its flavor. In this case the saying by Jesus here may be similar to Matt 19:24, where it is likewise impossible for the camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle. 3 tn Grk “Nor do they light.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general. 4 tn Or “a bowl”; this refers to any container for dry material of about eight liters (two gallons) capacity. It could be translated “basket, box, bowl” (L&N 6.151). Men may glorify God, that is, give to Him the worship and reverence which are His due (Matthew 5:16, and generally in the Synoptic Gospels and in some other passages of the New Testament). --Walter R. Betteridge Matthew 5:16 Not a Glare, But a Glow “Let your life so shine (Matt 5:16). It is not a glare but a glow; and we are simply to let the light shine. God prefers stars to comets. The figure is a candle, not a firecracker.” Vance Havner, Leadership, IV, 4, 1986 Reformation Days At the beginning of the Reformation, Martin of Basle, Switzerland, came to the knowledge of the truth. He accepted Jesus as his Savior. Afraid to let his friends know that he no longer believed the many falsehoods taught by his formal church, he wrote these words on a leaf of parchment. “O merciful Christ, I know that I can be saved only by the merit of Thy blood. Holy Jesus, I love Thee.” Removing a stone from the wall of his chamber, he hid behind the stone these beautiful words. The parchment was discovered more than a hundred years later. About the same time, Martin Luther of Wittenberg, Germany, also found the truth in Christ. Boldly he confessed, “My Lord has confessed me before men: I will not shrink from confessing my Lord before princes and kings!” We all know what followed. Everybody has heard what Martin Luther accomplished by his public confession of Christ. On the contrary, no one knows of Martin of Basle. If your life is to bear fruit, we cannot hide behind a stone in the wall our love for Jesus (Rom 10:9, 10)
Telling people they are sinners headed for hell is like rubbing salt in a wound. Giving them the gospel, First Corinthians 15:1-4, is like turning on the light. John 3:16-18
Jesus told us many things in parables, for whoever believes is given the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven (Mathew 13 : 3; 10-58) The meaning of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Mathew 5: 13-16) is: Jesus commanded us to become a righteous man/woman, in order to have an eternal life.(Mathew 25: 31-46).
Salt has always been used as a preservative of meat. The word of God is referred to as meat and milk. It has been implied to be light. Without light we and planet earth could not grow, survive or sustain ourselves. This word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It leads us and guides us in all understanding of what we can not understand fully without that enlightenment from the scriptures. That is why God warns us that we are destroyed by the lack of knowledge and to search the scriptures day and night to study to show yourself approved of the Lord, because God's people are destroyed because of the lack of knowledge, not worldly knowledge, but spiritual knowledge. Hoses 4:6.
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