Monday, January 31, 2011

Salty and Bright Matthew 5:13-20

Jesus understood His followers. He understood that we could change the world for good, like salt and light can change the world as God works through us. Jesus spoke of his followers saying they were like salt for the earth. As he graciously addressed them He asked this question,

εαν δε το αλας μωρανθη εν τινι αλισθησεται 1897 Skrivner New Testament
Jesus tells his followers that he came to fulfill the law and prophets. We are called to be salt and light walking in God's ways. We are called not to teach other ways but to follow Christ and to invite others to do the same trusting that God has the power to transform others and us that we might better reflect his light in the world.
Jesus question has been interpreted,
but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? Matthew 5:13 NRSV
Others interpretted Jesus words
but if the salt have become insipid, wherewith shall it be salted? John Nelson Darby Matthew 5:13.
There's a dimension of uncertainty to salt in these interpretations; just as there is great uncertainty about all of us. Salt can change. Chemists say given enough voltage, heat, or the right elemental combination salts can be readily broken down. Plain water can dilute salt. But there's a more pressing question here than just plain chemistry. The question is, "Can we change?" Jesus says we are the salt of the earth but that salt isn't really salty is fit to be trampled underfoot. It's freightening to imagine that we might loose our saltiness and become insipid and fit only to be tossed aside and trampled.

Christians believe in God's redemptive power. But do we believe that God can transform any of us, even the tasteless and insipid? God's ability to change anyone serves as a challenge for us when we are ready to give up. Toss no one aside, trample anyone underfoot like worthless salt. Instead turn the challenging people over to God.
Jesus says
ὑμεις εστε τo φως του κόσμου Matthew Black Matthew 5:14
"You are the light for the world." Jesus explains these gracious words with a reminder that such light, like a shining city, ought not be hidden. Even the most challenging people need God's light.