This week we are looking at two passages Genesis 12: 1-5 and Matthew 5: 13-16 and see what these two different texts can tell us about our call and mission as the church. We’ve looked at the world behind the text of each passage, yesterday we looked at the world of the text of Genesis, and today we’ll look at Matthew. Tomorrow we’ll look at what they both can mean to our lives today.
Jesus says two things in this text that sounds very familiar to our ears, but we may not understand His original intent or context. Salt and the city on a hill.
Salt – Salt would have been one of the most valuable resources in the entire world for the people of Jesus’ day. Salt for us today is something that we think about for seasoning. Think about how many people you know who have to eat a heart-healthy diet with little to no salt. Think about bland that is for them. For us, that is what we think about the most with salt. But for people in Jesus’ day salt wasn’t just for seasoning, but it was for preservation. You salted your meet to preserve it, it allowed you to keep it for longer periods of time. In a day and time with refrigeration, salt was, in many ways essential to living life.
So, if salt has lost its saltiness, then it is really of no value. It can’t preserve that which is worth keeping. I think there is something that we need to think about. As Christians, we are supposed to preserve the good things in life. We are supposed to make life better. Help others live. Salt is a literal agent of life for the people of Jesus’ day. Are we doing the same? Are we agents of life today? Are we being salt in a world in a world in desperate need of preservation?
City on a Hill – There is a city about four miles from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, Zippori. It was a literal city on a hill. Everyone could see it. As we would say in the south, it was lit up like Christmas. This city on a hill shined for everyone to see. There was literally no way that this could be hidden. It was obvious for everyone to see.
So should it be for us as Christians. We are a city on a hill. We are to shine for all to see. Just as Zippori could no more hide its light for all of Judea to see, we can’t hide our light for our world to see.
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