Ask yourself this question, ‘Am I a disciple of Jesus, like the early ones He spoke to on the mountain side?’ If the answer is yes, then you can learn from the teaching Jesus gave His disciples, which we call the ‘sermon on the mount’. Jesus left the crowds of people hanging around Him and spent some time teaching those who were already committed to following Him. ‘Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them’(Matthew 5:1-2).
After the teaching about those who are ‘blessed’ Jesus told His disciples they were the salt of the earth, but they were not to lose their saltiness, ‘You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people`s feet’ (Matthew 5:13).
Salt has always been an essential mineral for people, and from early times it was discovered that a little salt makes food taste a whole lot better. Salt preserves food and stops decay, because it kills bacteria. It also kills the living fungal organism, known nowadays as yeast, but which in the past was called leaven.
In olden times salt was considered a very precious mineral and just as it brought a physical cleansing it was considered to bring spiritual purity and holiness. In burnt offerings, made to God at the tabernacle, the place of meeting with God, the Israelites were told to always include salt, but to exclude leaven.
‘No grain offering that you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey as a food offering to the LORD. As an offering of firstfruits you may bring them to the LORD, but they shall not be offered on the altar for a pleasing aroma. You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt’ (Leviticus 2:11-13).
We see from this that, whereas salt represented a covenant relationship with God in a sacramental way, leaven was regarded as something that would defile this sacramental meal of communion with God, and it became a representation of sin.
Jesus warned His disciples about losing their saltiness. In those days salt didn’t come in the form of highly refined and neatly packaged table salt, ready for cooking. The rough salt crystals could lose their distinctive quality if they got mixed up and defiled with other minerals or dirt. They would then be no good for adding to food or using as a disinfectant. It would have to be thrown away as worthless.
Are we to be salt for the world today? If so we mustn’t allow ourselves to be polluted or defiled by spiritual dirt or the wrong substances in our environment. If we are to be a purifying influence in the world and the culture we live in for Jesus, we must remain holy, that is set apart for His purposes, and ready to be used.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to be a disciple who remains true to You in the midst of many other belief systems, values, opinions and ways of life in the world around me. I don’t want to lose the quality of saltiness which causes others to thirst for You. Amen.
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