Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded sermon of Jesus spanning from 5th to 7th chapter of Matthew. This is the manifesto of the kingdom of God. These chapters indicate the lifestyle of a person who follows Jesus and lives in the kingdom of God.
Jesus starts His sermon with beatitudes. Beatitudes are the attitudes that every follower of Christ should have. For the past few weeks we have been talking about the beatitudes and the lifestyle of a person living in the kingdom of God.
Jesus starts off saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Kingdom of heaven belongs to those who admit that they are spiritually bankrupt, there is no goodness in them and they cannot earn their way into the kingdom of God.
He follows that with “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” People in the kingdom of God are those who mourn for their sins. He goes on to describe these people will be meek, they have thirst and hunger for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers. He then says that we are blessed when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Our lifestyle will inevitably result in persecution. As Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
In other wards Jesus was saying that we should expect persecution when we live the lifestyle that He calls us to live. When the world falsely accuse us, calls us by names, idiots, bigots, fanatics, we are to rejoice. The world hated Jesus and they hate us because of Jesus. Jesus said, “Your reward will be great in heaven.”
In this context, Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth”, “You are the light of the world”. A Christian ought to be like salt and light, the elements that are in the world, but never compromise with the world.
In the ancient world, salt was very valuable. As there were no refrigerators, they used salt to preserve the meat. Salt acts as the preservator for the food. It retards corruption.
Salt brings healing. In 2 Kings 2:19-22, we read the story of Elisha healing water with salt. The water in that village was undrinkable and he threw salt into the spring and the water became pure.
We also see salt covenants in the Bible. When the enemies come together and compromise, they will have a covenant with each other, called salt covenant, which symbolizes that they will take care of each other.
Salt create thirst. Salt adds flavor to the food. It is hard to eat food without seasoning with salt.
Jesus compared us to the salt so that we will retard corruption in this world, we will bring healing to this world, we will reconcile and have covenant with each other, we will create thirst for righteousness in others, add flavor to the lives of people. Colossians 4:6 says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Are we living as salt of the earth? Are we bringing healing, adding flavor with grace, stopping the corruption in the society?
Jesus said “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.”
Salt, losing its saltiness is like compromising with this world and losing our influence. Once we compromise our standards, we can no longer impact this world.
Jesus also said “You are the light of the world”. Light is essential for the survival of life in this world. Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” He is the source of light and we reflect His light in this world, just like how moon reflects the light of sun.
Light exposes darkness. It reveals what is hidden. Our sin will be exposed in the light of God and His word.
Light gives hope. Person living in total darkness will be in hopeless condition. The moment he sees a tiny light at a faraway distance, he will get some hope.
Light gives direction. Ps 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God’s word directs our steps.
When Jesus compared us to light, He wants us to dispel the darkness of this world, expose the depraved, darkened minds of people and lead them to repentance.
As Christ followers, we are the only hope to this world. We are the salt and light in this world. We need to impact the world. Salt removes the negative effects and light gives life in positive way. We need to stop corruption, through our lives and shine God’s light in this world to lead people to Him.
May God help us to be the salt and light in this world!