Jesus follows his statement of the character of His followers (knowing you are nothing without God, mourning over sin, putting yourself second, hungering and thirsting to have right standing with God, overflowing with mercy, having an unmixed heart, being a peacemaker, and suffering persecution for the sake of the Savior) with the results of lives that reflect the Beatitudes: Christ-followers are salt and light. Notice that Jesus does not challenge us to be salt and light…He states that we are salt and light. How is this displayed in your life?
13You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Discuss as a group some of the expressions you have for “salt” and “light” (for example, “take it with a grain of salt”, “light at the end of the tunnel”).
Read Matthew 5:13-16. What do you think is the main point of the passage?
Salt was a valuable commodity in biblical times. In Jesus’ time, it was mainly used to preserve food. What do you think Jesus was saying when He said that, “You are the salt of the earth”?
Read John 8:12 and 9:5. If Jesus is the light of the world, how are believers also the light of the world? Do these verses in John contradict Matthew 5:14? Why or why not? (See 2 Corinthians 4:6.)
What might cause a Christian to lose their “saltiness” or hide their “light”?
The implication of these verses is that you have the privilege to be “salt and light” to the world. Have you ever considered this as a privilege? Why or why not?
Write down three ways you have been salt and/or light to an unbelieving world. Discuss ways you could have a stronger influence on those around you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Read Daniel 6. How was Daniel “salt and light” in his environment? What was the result? Are you willing to be “salt and light” if the result is persecution?
Read the following passages and note what you learn about light:
- Luke 2:29-32
- John 1:1-9
- John 8:12
- John 9:1-5
- John 12:44-46
- Ephesians 5:6-8
- Philippians 2:12-18
David Guzik (pastor, Bible teacher, Bible commentary author) states that “the figures of salt and light also remind us that the life marked by the Beatitudes is not to be lived in isolation….Jesus wants us to live them out before the world….Does your workplace improve because you work without complaining, you show up on time, you treat everyone with kindness, you refuse to enter gossip?” Are you able to answer these questions affirmatively? Ask the same questions about other areas of your life – in your home, at your church, in the community…do you “shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Ephesians 2:15-16)?
According to Matthew 5:16, the focus of your life should be to bring glory to God. What does that look like in your life?