In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He spent His life traveling the Judean countryside teaching and explaining the Kingdom of God. He was always surrounded by many kinds of people; educated, uneducated, poor and rich, etc. He was teaching about something that was hard to understand. So, He often used Parables (For people) to make them simple and easy to remember and pass on.
When Jesus was introducing the Sermon on the Mount, He talked about the beatitudes in the very beginning and then talks about salt and light in Matthew 5:13-16.
“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. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The Salt of the Earth
When we hear the word Salt, two uses of salt come to mind:
Salt makes the food tastier and delicious to eat. The Salt has a special flavor and because of the flavor, it is essential in the kitchen back then and even now. And during Jesus’ time, no one had freezers. People would use salt to preserve food, especially meat, and some places still follow this method. But if the salt loses its saltiness then it is no longer useful.
Jesus says we are the salt of the world, so, what does it mean to be salt? Jesus wants His children to bring a heavenly flavor in the world. Just like Salt has a flavor which is saltiness, we must have a heavenly flavor which is kindness, love, forgiveness, patience, goodness, zeal to preach the Gospel, and on and on. We should make the world a peaceful living place through His guidance and direction.
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We are no longer useful for the Kingdom of God if we don’t have the heavenly flavor. Jesus says “…apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We can have the heavenly flavor by abiding in Jesus Christ. We can become more like Him, if we choose to sit in His presence daily, reading and meditating His word.
Salt also has another use of preserving food, not letting the food decay. Since we are the salt of the world, we can act as salt and save the world through Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel and telling them about the Savior Jesus Christ. The world is full of sin, all mankind is sinful but they can be saved if they put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation.
The Light of the World
In the first century, there was no electricity. So, when Jesus said about the light, He was talking about small oil lamps that used to be kept on lampstands that would light up the whole room.
Jesus calls us the light of the world because He lives inside of us; we have the eternal light within us. He wants us to reflect His light onto others. People are walking in the darkness and have no exit way out of their sinful lives and in the midst of this, He wants us to show them the right path so that they can see the truth and can be saved because we are the light of the world. We must show them the goodness of God and must be an example of Jesus Christ in the world.
Jesus called us to be the salt and light of the world so that by our deeds and examples people can glorify our heavenly Father. We cannot do it by ourselves, that is why we have the Holy Spirit who can help us and teach us to be faithful children of God. We need more of Him to do His will.