Wednesday 27 July 2016

Bible Book:

Matthew 5:13 Wednesday 27 July 2016

Psalm: Psalm 119:161-176


You may well be familiar with the phrase 'So-and-So, they're thesalt of the earth' - meaning that in individual can be relied upon,is loyal and trustworthy. This common English use of the phrasereflects at least part of Jesus' emphasis in today's verse. AsChrist's followers, we should be reliable; we should betrustworthy; we should be loyal; we should be diligent ineverything that is undertaken. The followers of Jesus are to berecognised in the world by the quality of their living. Indeed, inthe Roman world, salt was regarded as a symbol of purity. Thisdistinctiveness perhaps helps us to understand another nuance onJesus' teaching here. Christ's followers, as "the salt of theearth" are to add flavour to the world. We are to add taste to thelife of the whole world; we are to enrich and enhance the world byour presence and our participation. Sadly, too often thedistinctive contribution of Jesus' followers has become lost in theworld; it becomes diminished and dissolved as the Church takes onthe characteristics of the world around it, rather than seasoningsociety and bringing out the best of flavours. Jesus warns againstsalt that has "lost its taste" and therefore becomes something tobe discarded as useless. 

Before the advent of refrigeration, salt was used as a means ofpreserving food. Salt stopped fresh food decaying. Traditionally,this capacity for salt to preserve has been regarded as a furtherelement in Jesus' teaching. His followers, by their presence,participation and example in the world act to prevent moral,ethical and spiritual decay. Those translations of the Bible thattranslate "lost its taste" as "lost its saltiness" perhapsemphasise this preservative quality in salt. But here our emphasisis on taste and the distinctive, life enhancing vibrancy thatfollowers of Jesus can bring into the world community.

To Ponder

  • 'The followers of Jesus Christ are to be recognised in theworld by the quality of their living'. Think of two people -perhaps one local to you and one national figure - who haveimpacted your life by 'the quality of their living' for Christ?What have they shown you?
  • In what ways is the Christian community acting at 'salt' inyour locality?
  • What can contribute to the 'salt' of the Church losing itssaltiness? And what can you do to prevent this?
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