After traveling throughout Galilee healing diseases, driving out demons, and restoring health to suffering people, he had drawn quite a crowd of followers in addition to his disciples. People were hungry to see MORE. More healings, more miracles, more things they had never seen with their own eyes. But in all the frenzy, Jesus sits down with his disciples on top of a hill. It was time for them to learn the substance behind all of these events.
Imagine the disciples’ expressions as Jesus begins to tell them most blessed of all people are: people poor in spirit; mourners; the mild-mannered; people who desire righteousness; those who are merciful; the pure-hearted; peacemakers; those who are persecuted (because of righteousness). These qualities don’t exactly make up the list of those “most likely to succeed;” especially under the violence and often-present corruption of Roman rule. I’m sure there were a few sets of rolling eyes, questionable looks, and deep gulps. However, these are the things that will make us “children of God” and residents of “the kingdom of heaven.”
Christ reminds them that he is present to fulfill the law and the prophets; he maintains the authority of the commandments given to Moses and Jewish law, what God has already set as expectation for His people. He addresses the issues he likely has seen during his ministry: anger that sows seed for harm and murder; unsaid precursors to self-destructing adultery; divorce on a whim; meaningless oaths; revenge over petty things; and countless situations that grace and love would have solved. He read the hearts of the crowds, certainly he saw it all.
Just when the disciples are digesting all this, Jesus is direct with them: YOU are the salt that gives food flavor, preserves meat (remember, no refrigeration), and is highly valued in the markets (at some points equal to gold). If you say you’re salt, but are anything other than salty, there is nothing that can be substituted for you. YOU are the lamp that gives light to your home, your town, the world. If you hide your light, then others live in darkness. And God is not glorified by that.
Questions for today:
What am I actively doing to be the “blessed” person of the Beatitudes? Which of these can be heard or seen in me already?
What situations, relationships, conversations, or promises does Christ know I need to revisit before bringing my “sacrifice” to him?
Are there ways I hide my light from others? Who might be in the dark or a dark season who needs my light?
Am I in danger of being “unsalty” salt?