Scripture: Matthew 5:13-20
Key verses: (13a, 14a) “You are the salt of the earth . . . you are the light of the world.”
Reflection: In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus laid out some of the essential elements of faith in action. Beginning in chapter five, he taught about key topics related to how we are to live in the world. In today’s text, Jesus called his followers to be salt and light to everyone around them. I love how the Bible uses all the senses in describing faith. We are the salt of the earth. We are to add flavor to our relationships. As one commentator has said: “Salt does not exist for itself”. It enhances the flavor of everything it is added to. In other words, every encounter is an opportunity to show the love of God to a person, a situation or a community. When salt loses its taste, it has to be thrown out. It’s not good for anything. Likewise, we are to be light to the world. The light of God needs to shine in our lives in such a way that others can see it. We are to reflect the tangible expressions of love and justice. If we hide what God has placed within us, then we are of no use. Perhaps the most challenging verse in today’s passage is found in verse 20. Jesus says, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This sounds impossible to achieve on the surface. However, Jesus criticized the “righteousness” of the religious leaders who were adhering to the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. Disciples are called to exceed this righteousness, not copy it, by living as citizens of the kingdom of God. The Sermon on the Mount outlines what this citizenship looks like and how it can be lived out.
How will you be salt and light today?
Prayer: Loving God, thank you for calling us to show your light and love to others. Help us as we seek to live as people who belong to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].