Jesus uses the metaphor of Salt and Light in Matthew 5:13-16 to talk about what kind of influence we should have as disciples. As Christians. He uses them to talk about being a witness.
Why Salt and Light? Well, think about being a first century person. Salt came from the dead sea. It was literally Sea Salt. It was pretty common, but the problem with it (because it was all natural) is that over time it would lose it’s flavor. It was literally a use it or lose it situation.
Kind of like our witness. We can use our witness to make an impact, to love, to give God a great reputation, or we are going to lose it. We are going to be positive influence for Jesus and stand up for truth and righteousness and justice or we have no witness for God at all and we have lost it. Lost what? An opportunity to influence someone else positively for the Kingdom of God. Your witness matters. Your influence matters.
What about light? They didn’t have light switches in their homes. They didn’t have street lamps. They didn’t have flashlights. They had lamps and candles and not everyone could afford lamps and candles. So light was a precious commodity. It was a powerful thing. We just take it for granted that we can flip a switch and the light comes on. How many of us still flip the switch when the power goes off out of habit?
Salt and light two things the people could immediately connect with. Jesus is saying that to belong to him is be salt and light to the earth. I think he is talking about two realms, two areas of witness, of influence.
To be salt is to be a silent influence, to be light is to be a known influence.
Our witness matters behind closed doors as much as it does in public. Jesus is calling us to a private and public witness. Just as salt is for our own consumption, we need to be aware of what kind of witness we have when no one's looking or when we are just with the people closest to us. Just as light make things visible, we need to be aware of what kind of witness we are too people publicly.
Salt and Light...Private and Public...our witness matters!
Living for Christ privately and publicly is to be a silent influence and a known influence. It's two ways to honor God and make the most positive difference in our world!