SALT & LIGHT
Just over eleven years ago the world was shaken by the deliberate
attacks made on the United States as four large planes were hijacked.
Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center, one into a part of the
Pentagon and the other one was overtaken by passengers who managed to
seize control of the plane before it could cause any damage but crashed
in rural Pennsylvania. The impact of this violation of human innocence
is keenly felt every time we travel and every year at this time we are
reminded through photographic and video images we relive those tragic
In the past month in the countries of Egypt and Libya and news from
other Northern African nations are reverberating with the violent
reaction to a low grade film that insulted the Muslim faith and their
historical founder, Mohammed.
The world we live in is complex; its full of problems and humanity
attempts to explain them by perspectives that are colored by sincere
faith, religion, history and ethnicity. If we listen carefully we will
hear interesting ideas, some make perfect sense while others are
motivated by hatred, insensitivity or just plain ignorance. Of course I
have my own ideas which are formed from the information I receive but I
have to stop and think; how do we navigate through these troubled times
from a christian believer’s point of view?
As a Christian, our guidance and wisdom are based in biblical fact.
There are two things that I wish to bring out regarding the things that
the Lord Jesus Christ stated. In Luke 19:10 it says that Christ came “to
seek and save the lost”. This is a fundamental truth.
The other thing is that Christ also came to challenge the hypocritical
religious environment that had been created in Israel. Those two issues
are still prevalent today, many people are still spiritually lost and
religious hypocrisy goes beyond the borders of Israel and affects all
nations and affects all kinds of religions. The thing that is still
prevalent today though is that JESUS IS THE ANSWER to these two
pervading problems. So as we live out the truth of Christ in our lives
we find in Matthew 5 the beginning of that insightful sermon which Jesus
delivered from a mountain top; and so its titled the “Sermon on the
What is required of us to live out those truths and adopt those
attitudes that are found in Matthew 5? The bulk of Matthew 5 right up to
chapter 7 gives us many instructions in how to encounter life and react
to the uncomfortable situations that present themselves. In Matthew
5:13-16 we read of a declaration Jesus makes to his hearers. The first
11 verses deal with what we know as the Beatitudes and culminate with
what we read in verses 11 and 12 where the Lord states that persecution
for our faith will come. He wants His followers to understand that while
they are truly blessed by God, the world will resist them and persecute
them as it resists and persecutes the kingdom. While Jesus, the Light,
was not overcome by the darkness of this world, He was persecuted by it.
So then, you might be wondering at this point in Jesus' sermon on the
mount, what is our relationship with the world? Why are we still here if
we are resisted and persecuted? Why can't we just immediately go and
live fully and only in the kingdom of God? I think Jesus begins to
answer these questions in this passage of Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus tells
His followers who they are in relation to the world where they live.
There are two images He presents to them. They are the salt of the earth
and the light of the world. Notice that these are both statements of
fact. Jesus is not telling them what He wants them to strive hard to
become. He is not commanding them. He is telling them what is true
already. As those who are blessed by God, they have a special
relationship with this world.
(To be continued....)
David Jones with excerpts from CD