“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Jesus says that we are salt and that we are light. Not that we become such. That we are.
In a world where daily news reports show the increase of murders, the increase of rape, the increase of human trafficking, of terrorism, of racism, and the increasing hostility between countries, nations, and peoples, it is made clear that the world needs something – or someone – to intervene.
Just four verses prior, Jesus tells crowd, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5:9)
Friends, blessed are the peacemakers.
Jesus knew that our world was going to be full of brokenness and pain. He knew that peace was going to be something that needed to be fought for. And He knew that the ones fighting for peace would be set apart; set apart from the rest of those who are fighting in violence or standing on the sidelines simply watching the chaos erupt around them.
We know them by heart, those who have fought for peace. We think of names like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, just to name a few. These men and women were set apart from the rest of the world. They put their lives in harms way in order that peace could be brought to those who had no peace.
Martin Luther King Jr. brought about the first major wave of racial reconciliation in the United States of America, an act solely led by peacemaking movements.
Nelson Mandela brought peace between the racially segregated in South Africa, having been imprisoned nearly 27 years for doing so.
Mother Teresa famously provided free service to the poorest of the poor, from medical care, to education, to nourishment.
Mahatma Gandhi, through non-violent protest and disobedience, brought about independence for the nation of India from the British Empire.
And Jesus Christ, having suffered at the hands of one of His best friends – and after having been betrayed, beaten, cursed, and spit on by His own people – freely offered up His life on a cross as a substitute for ours to bring peace between us and God
Friends, set apart are the peacemakers.
Jesus Christ brought peace where there was no peace. He brought hope where there was no hope. And He bought freedom when there was none to be found.
“For He was obedient to death… even death on a cross…”
Because He has brought peace between us and God, He lays before us a choice:
To receive Him and become salt and light that we may bring to the world the good news of peace eternal
Or to deny Him and limit our peacemaking abilities to the temporary
May those who bring peace to the world who do not know Jesus Christ meet Him, and may they see that He is for them, and not against them.
To those that know Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and Friend:
You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world
Friend, you are salt because the world is decaying; you are light because the world is in darkness.
To bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, you are the salt, you are the light.
To preach forgiveness of sins to the ashamed, to the guilty, you are the salt, you are the light.
To redeem the injustices of human trafficking, poverty, and violence, you are the salt, you are the light.
To heal the sick, to care for the orphan, to care for the widow, you are the salt, you are the light.
To bring hope where there is no hope, to bring peace where there is no peace, to bring joy where joy has been taken…
You are the salt.
You are the light.
You hold the keys to the bring flourishing where there is decay; the keys to bring light where there is darkness.
What Jesus did, He says, “you will do greater things than these.”
The more you let Jesus define who you are, the more you seek after Him in the revealed Word of God, the more that you listen for His voice in prayer, and the more that you become obedient to His commands, the more that you will see decay reduce and darkness dissipate.
Seek Him, become ever more the salt and light He prepared you to be.
Then, watch the world respond to the great Peacemaker in faith, in tears, and in joy; watch the world surrender to Him, watch the world surrender to peace.