Imagine sitting on the mountainside, perhaps a pleasant breeze is blowing and the sun shining as excitement begins to fill the air, and people are gathered around everywhere, talking with anticipation as they wait to hear what Jesus is going to say. This is the scene as Jesus begins his preaching ministry and his most famous sermon, The Sermon on the Mount.
As I continue my journey of reading through Jesus’ words in the New Testament, I come to the next passage in Matthew after Jesus has just finished telling the crowd how to be blessed, or also known as The Beatitudes. There is much contradiction and confusion in our world today, and I believe if we just listen to Jesus’ words, they are complete and will show us the truth. Who else has ever said, “You are the light of the world…”?
~ Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light ~
The best way for me to describe what Jesus is saying here is to tell a modern-day story of my youth.
Once in my younger days, I decided to go to two parties in one evening. I was single and trying to make the most of my opportunities, I suppose. The first party was with my church group. The second party was with some acquaintances from work. Both parties were in close driving distance, so I thought I could do both in one night. I first went to the church party, enjoyed the fellowship of good friends, and then departed a little early to make the next party. I walked into the next party, most of the people I didn’t even recognize, but I seemed to be getting some odd glances from people that I couldn’t quite explain. I check my outfit but everything looked ok. There was nothing unusual I could see, but the atmosphere felt very dark and I didn’t have a good feeling about the place. Then, it was as if I heard Jesus saying to me, “You don’t belong here. My light is still shining from you being in My presence earlier this evening, and it stands out in this place.” I turned around and left, feeling like a fool for thinking I could be two different things.
Sometimes when we feel like we don’t fit in, it is because we’re not supposed to. The more we try to go along with the crowd, the more diminished our salt and light becomes (“trampled on by men” – verse 13). We begin to doubt and lose confidence. Jesus is saying we are to stand out, in a positive way that will attract people to His presence. Jesus will do the speaking from there.