Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus values salt – 23 March 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

(Mk 9.50; Lk 14.34–35)

13“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.

Lk 12.57–59

Mt 19.9Mk 10.11–12Lk 16.18

Lk 6.29–30

Lk 6.27–2832–36

Matthew 5:13GNBOpen in Bible reader

What makes a grocery-shopping trip worthwhile in a moment? A reply from their gentle employee, “I am well, by God’s grace”. The gentleman who responded in this way took my thoughts away from the general commotion in the store, my concern about prices and the unavailability of items, to a higher purpose for living. We all exchange pleasantries with salespeople from time to time, but this sincere acknowledgement of God’s grace for his well-being, at this time of pandemic domination, was touching evidence of gratitude, humility and tangible faith which could resonate with others.

Surely these qualities are some of the timeless spiritual values that Jesus encompasses in His arresting words today. The idea of being the ‘salt of the earth’ is not the most appealing metaphor to a child’s mind when first learning about it at Sunday school, but with maturity it becomes a powerful illustration of truth that solidly expresses the essence of what true followers of Jesus will be. It also carries with it His warning to persevere.

Salt is not sugar. Sugar is sweet to the tongue, greatly enjoyed at times in certain delectable treats, but it can be addictive and can also cause a crash. If we were to be like sugar, we’d be sweet, but fairly insubstantial, and probably burn out quickly. Salt, by contrast, is pure, strong and enduring, something of substance to be treated with respect, as too much of it has the power to ruin a meal or destroy vegetation. So salt seasons, purifies and preserves, as biltong lovers, pharmacists and grandmothers (!) know.

God instructed the Israelites to, “not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” (Leviticus 2:13) Salt was also seen as a very important inclusion in many parts of Israel’s life, and Jewish Mystics were of the view that in the essence of salt God combined compassion with justice. *(

So when Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, and, “Everyone will be purified by fire as a sacrifice is purified by salt.” Mark 9:49 He is showing how important this immense task is to infiltrate the earth like innumerable tiny, yet powerful, grains of salt to bring the essence of His love, grace, purity, and power into the world. We can only do this by being true to who He calls us to be, by remaining in His vine and being as Jesus to others. (John 15:3-5)

Will we go in Jesus’ Name to be the salt in the world at this time?

Prayer: “LORD … there is no God like you in heaven above or on the earth below – you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.” (1 Kings 8:23) May You show Your love and grace to others through me. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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