Posted by Bill Shorey, Senior Pastor
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matt. 5:13-16, NLT
I have a T-shirt; it’s stained and threadbare, but holds significance to me. On its label is this challenge—Live A Life That Demands Explanation. Does that not reflect the challenge Jesus gave to his disciples and to any and all of his would-be followers?
The Bible passage above is a portion of Jesus’ longest recorded sermon in Scripture; we know it as “The Sermon On The Mount.” Nearly every paragraph, which speaks to nearly every element of life, says: Live A Life That Demands Explanation. Even the most casual reader can see Jesus is describing a people who live radically different—extraordinarily different from those in the same world around them.
What Christ Did Not Say
Look closely and notice what Jesus does not say. He does not say, “You know, you really should be more like salt and light.” No, Jesus is emphatic—You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world. Do you see it? Jesus’ people are of a different substance. What they are is not what they once were; a complete transformation has taken place. “I’ll define you this way,” says Jesus, and he uses two metaphors to do so. “You are now salt. Your presence in your world, like salt, will slow down the decaying, devolving effect of your broken world. Like light, you will stand in contrast to the darkness of your world. You will shine like a city on the acropolis, or a burning candle in the darkness of night.”
Jesus’ choice of metaphors makes it clear: we are not what we were; our presence changes everything. We live a life that demands explanation.