Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths that transform our minds, hearts, and lives.
What does salt and light have to teach us about God and the transforming power of his kingdom?
Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with valuable goods such as gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose, especially in warmer climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave rich flavour to food, it also preserved food from going bad and being spoiled.
Jesus used the image of salt to describe the transforming effect of God’s work in our lives – and how the Holy Spirit wants to work through us to bring the power and blessing of God’s kingdom to others. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavour for our daily food, we, too, as disciples of Jesus, are “salt” for the world of human society.
The Lord wants to work in and through us to purify, preserve, and spread the rich flavour of God’s kingdom everywhere – his “kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Jesus used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration of God’s transforming work in and through us. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling.
The Jews also understood “light” as symbol or expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light (Psalm 36:9).
His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.
Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom.
Our mission is to be light-bearers of Jesus Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
There is great freedom and joy for those who live in the light of God’s truth and goodness. Do we know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?