The Parables of Jesus: Day 20

Salt and Light


Today's Text: Luke 14:25-34, Matthew 5:13-16, Luke 11:33-36

In this study of the Parables of Jesus, we are reading many of the stories Jesus used to teach hearers about how to live as His followers. Each day we’ll read parables in their immediate context, focusing on a different category of parables each week. Then we will work through a series of questions to understand the meaning of the text and take to heart the “secrets of the kingdom.”

Editor’s Note: In this Parables study, Jesus Himself is telling us stories—stories He wants us to reflect on and process. Rather than asking our writers to write their own stories about Jesus’ stories, we thought it would serve you and the text better to provide questions to help you dig into the meaning of each day’s parable. If you find a parable or passage particularly confusing, stop and pray. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you in His Word, and thank Him that we can know Him without knowing all the answers to our questions.


Week 3: Parables about following Jesus

Many of the parables Jesus told have to do with what it means to follow Him in this life. Addressing topics from anxiety and fear, to compassion for our neighbors and commitment to the truth, Jesus uses common scenarios and familiar places to teach His disciples how to live as His people. Each parable in this week’s daily readings speaks to the Christian life in some way. Use the questions below to help you dig deeper into Jesus’ teaching.


Day 19 Reading: Luke 14:25-34, Matthew 5:13-16, Luke 11:33-36


1. Based on these parables, what does it mean to be salt? What does it mean to be light?

2. What problem is Jesus responding to with His parables about salt and light?

3. What is the central point of these parables?

4. What is your response to these parables?


  • I found some commentary on this on focus on the family’s website, and I thought it was helpful: “[Salt and light] are powerful metaphors. Salt is a preservative that works only when it penetrates into food, and becomes useless when contaminated by other chemical substances. It must remain pure to do its job. Jesus says that Christians, likewise, must penetrate society while keeping themselves from being influenced by sin in the world.

    “Similarly, light penetrates darkness. To know the truth and fail to stand for it, Jesus says, is as senseless as lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket.

    “In other words, we don’t just live out our faith inside the walls of our churches and of our homes. We’re not to be of the world, but we’re to be in the world. We’re citizens of an earthly kingdom as well as a heavenly one. Citizens participate in the culture, everything from what children are taught in school to what appears on TV screens.”

  • Bethany Elza

    Here’s another perspective, for what it’s worth. I work in the medical field so I’m looking at this from a physiologic standpoint. In medicine salt (sodium)=water. Where there is salt, there is water. Without an appropriate amount of salt in our bodies we could not hold on to water. We would dry up and die. Literally. This is an oversimplification but i can’t help associating the salt of our lives as Christians with living water. As salt we share our witness, we encourage, we admonish. This is the salt that is necessary for us and others to hold onto living water, which is necessary to sustain spiritual life.

  • Salt is a flavor enhancer. It specifically brings out the flavor that is already there. Jesus has already done everything by dying for the sins of the world. The gospel is right there for anyone and everyone. He is the one that brings life. Our lives should be evidence of the richness and fullness of Christ and His work on the cross. We are nothing without Him!

  • Salt back in Jesus time on earth was used for more than seasoning. It was used to preserve foods. In a sense it provided life. Without preserved meats & fish your body didn’t have what it needed to function.
    It healed wounds remember gargling or rinsing with salt water when you had a sore throat or wisdom teeth removed? As a seasoning a little salt enhanced the flavor of the food, even sweet is sweeter with a little salt. It was used as monetary payment for services & goods.
    It can be used to clean its abrasiveness removes substances such as food stuck on a pan. Once it looses its saltiness, worth value, it is not even good to recycle. We use salty to describe someone today who has attitude, outspoken, sarcastic.
    So if we as Christians don’t spend time in the word we become used up, we loose our distinct flavor and need in the world, we are no longer of value.

  • I actually have just walked through Luke 14:34 and I hope anyone struggling here remembers that our God is all about hope and redemption. I had spent my 20’s in a self centered world that led me to call into a lot of the ways God has told us lead to death. I ended up bowing and seeking Krishna a god worshipped in Hinduism, was sexually immoral and excusing myself because I could “call it love”, and idolizing myself because I had found a path to “enlightenment”. When God led me back to His word and I started to honestly look at myself I was bland, flavorless, with very little substance. It was something I struggled with especially when reading this verse but I had to keep reminding myself that God doesn’t tell us this wisdom to call it quits on us. So I prayed and kept asking him to give me flavor, to give me His salt. He began restoring me and all the flavor of myself that He said is good as I began to choose obedience to His word. I started to understand that the “unique”me that was made of this world was what was making me empty and useless. But as soon as I decided and said Yes to God to worship Him in spirit and truth He has restored me in ways I didn’t think were possible. Things I loved but were getting clouded and stolen by what is evil, wisdom and understanding of His word showing me how He is truly good and that His law isn’t about us following rules but they are boundaries that give and preserve life and true love and goodness. And that there is a tangible power to His word and all of those things. His word and worshipping Him in spirit and truth has made me feel like Wonder woman!! I want to fight and live and nurture and live supernaturally like I never thought I would and I know that it’s possible because of Him!!

    • Cori

      Natalia, your story is such a beautiful testimony. Thanks for sharing. Weird question/possible coincidence: Do you happen to live in southwestern PA?

    • Barb

      Thank you for sharing your powerful story. A wonderful example of God’s grace and mercy.

    • Elle

      Thank you for sharing your story, Natalia! God bless you as you continue on in knowing Christ!

  • Luke 14:26 always confused me until recently when I looked up the Greek and discovered the meaning of the word translated as “hate.” It is the Greek word miseó, which is a comparative word. Here is the definition I found: “properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.”

    Jesus is not teaching us to hate our families, but to love Him the most. He must come first in our lives, before any of our relationships or possessions. When we put anyone or anything before Jesus, it becomes an idol. We tend to think of idols as possessions, but even people and relationships can be idols.

    When we put Jesus first in our lives and commit to serving Him, we will be salty and full of light. Salt and light is an outpouring of our relationship with our Savior. He is our source and without Him at the center of our lives, our lights will grow dim and our salt will lose its saltiness.

    As I was typing those last few sentences, Psalm 37:4-6 came to mind and I wanted to share that too:

    “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

    • S.

      Kristi, thank you so much for making this more clear to me and helping to give me a better understanding of this verse. My heart sunk when I read “hate” and was thoroughly confused! I’m new to Christianity and having accepted Christ as my Savior and still trying to wrap my brain around things.

  • Lauren Rogers

    One thing that stuck out to me was the idea that our eyes are the lamps to our bodies and souls. I️t reminds me of the song my mom used to sing to me “oh be careful little eyes what you see”. With so much darkness in the world are our eyes focused on things of this world or are they focused above? Are we allowing darkness into our lamps by what we consume visually?

  • In England “salt ” (rock salt ) is also put on the roads to de-ice them. Similarly, we can be used by God to point to him to “melt” their hardened hearts.

    We can’t run our race either on a frozen over path – it’ll be slippery and we’ll fall.

    I felt the need to write this.

    • Emily B.

      That’s a good image, too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Beth

      I was thinking about the uses for salt and missed that one. It is a great metaphor. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kristin Hope

      It’s snowing here now and we walk and drive on salt so we won’t slip and fall and injure ourselves… thank you for mentioning this, it’s beautiful.

  • As I sit in the light of the rising sun this morning. I realized that when i am struck by a sun beam I often stop and bask, soaking up the warmth and light. And then eventually move on carrying that and find myself lighter brighter as I go. May that be true of my heart and life – stopping and basking in the light of the Son so He can move me to bring that light. Not what I can do, not my light but His in me because I have soaked it up over and over.
    Remind us to be still and know you are God. And then from there bring your light to the darkness. Amen.

  • Salt and light. Lord let me shine your light and help others recognize a thirst for you. Would really appreciate your prayers today friends, my roommate and I are going to go out and try to share the Gospel with someone. I mentioned the other day that we’re required to do it for an evangelism class, but I really don’t like how it feels forced. I want to be intentional and do it, not because I need to get the grade, but because I want to share what God has done in my life and share how amazing He is. Please pray that we wouldn’t be nervous or afraid and that God would show us who He wants us to share the Gospel with. Thank you guys!! ❤️

    • Cathy

      Sarah, I am certain if you pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to someone who needs to hear your word OR see your actions you will know. Salt and light! Sometimes your actions speak even louder than your words. If you are talking to someone and they seem to need prayer simply ask them if you can pray for them. Praying for an amazing opportunity for you. Adjust those antenna

      • Terri

        Amen Cathy. Praying for them and telling them something God has done for you. In an age of science fiction making God real helps draw them to him.

    • Diana Davis

      I just prayed for you! May your heart be in the right place and your passion for sharing God not dim with earthly fears.

  • Always a great reminder, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Let them see our good works, but give God the glory… not us.

    Also, Jesus talks about being careful not to lose our saltiness nor let our light grow dim. Salt preserves, seasons, heals, and purifies/disinfects. Our words and actions must preserve His Word, season the Good News, heal in His name, and purify others. Light removes darkness; darkness no longer exists in the presence of light. We must be this light, by encouraging, exposing, and showing the way for others.

    • Lehua K.

      Thank you Irina for the explanation you provided on salt. I was a little boggled with the question on how to interpret it, but it makes so much sense now!

  • Oh, these passages hit close to home today. I am one of eight siblings, raised in a legalistic religion. One where the beauty and truth of the Gospel wasn’t taught. We learned that we needed to be “good people” and do good works to get to Heaven.

    All my siblings and I rejected “religion.” Praise be to God that He continued to pursue me and I came to know and trust Jesus as my Savior. While my siblings knew of my faith, I skirted around it when I was with them. We are very close…I love them, wanted to fit in, not be rejected by them. I was a coward.

    But God pressed on me that I needed to share the Gospel and let them know the Truth. After putting it off for months, due to fear of rejection and loss of relationship, I did what God clearly asked me to do. I have heard back from three of my siblings, all rejected the Gospel. I sense a break in our relationship and I don’t believe it will be the same moving forward.

    So reading Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple,” brought me to tears this morning. And while the enemy would like to convince me that they will never come to faith in the Lord Jesus, I will continue to entrust them to the Lord and ask that He pursue them as He pursued me. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can be salt and light to them, loving them even amidst rejection.

    Praise you, Lord, for your mercy and love and for the forgiveness I have in Christ. Open the eyes of my beloved brothers and sisters. Convict them by the power of your Spirit of their need for Your Son. I pray and ask in His Name. Amen.

    • Terri

      My siblings are not walking with the Lord. I know the difficulty sharing with them especially since I am the baby of the family. God says to me to keep on loving them unconditionally as He has loved me. Let the relationship be the same on your side as it was before “going forward”as much as possible.

    • Jerri

      As I read this, my heart is burdened for you and your siblings! Thank you for your openness. I will be praying for you and your siblings!

    • AliceV

      Thank you both very much. Alice

  • What stuck out at me the most is that salt becomes “useless” when it loses its saltiness. We are here for one reason and that is to spread the gospel to others and bring light to a dark world. If we lose that focus on furthering the Truth then we, too, become “useless” to Him. The idea of being useless to God brings my heart great concern! Yes, a little salt can add flavor but a lot of salt preserves and saves! A small light warms a room but a lot of light casts out darkness and banishes fear!

    Lord, I ask for opportunities today to help preserve and save. I pray that I would be reminded that you give all of your children the power to cast out the darkness and fear through your Holy Spirit and that we are called to have a spirit of boldness.

    Do not be a flickering flame but be on fire for him!

    • GramsieSue

      Perfectly spoken! ❤️

    • Christina D.

      Great encouragement. Love this Laura!

    • Terri

      Too much salt can be caustic and ruin otherwise wonderful food. We must pray for wisdom as it says in James and the guidance of Holy Spirit in all that we do. Jesus approached different people in different ways.

    • Lyn

      Is there something to be said for the fact that too much salt can burn and too much light can blind? Is there something to be said for the “proportional response”?

  • Love this

  • Leenda324

    Ever notice how salty foods make you thirsty? Being salt, I believe, also means that in being sprinkled about we have the purpose of making people thirsty for Jesus. Conversely, if salt loses its flavor, it’s good for nothing — and if we as Christians don’t act as salt we have lost our purpose. Lord, change my heart, so prone to wander, and let my purpose be at one with yours.

  • 1. Based on these parables, what does it mean to be salt? What does it mean to be light? Being salt is equated to being a Christian that helps bring out the best in others. Being light means showing others who THE Light is just by being (Be still and know that I am God) . . . so maybe be still and let others see God through you?

    2. What problem is Jesus responding to with His parables about salt and light? Dont lose your flavor and passion for being a Christian. Dont give so much of your salt out that you have nothing left, dont grow apathetic.

    3. What is the central point of these parables? Encouragement.

    4. What is your response to these parables? For me, I take it as you dont have to do everything, just a little bit is more than enough. For through Jesus it is magnified.

  • Love this. Salt preserves food and enhances it – bringing out flavors; it packs a lot of power in the smallest bit. It is sprinkled. Sometimes we don’t realize the power in being sprinkled. When Jesus uses us, He loves to sprinkle us into different lives of others to help preserve them, enhance them, and bring out the best in them. We can get overwhelmed thinking we have to do or be so much, but salt reminds me that He’s always using the little or much I have – to benefit the Kingdom. That we don’t have to be showy or pushy, but be salt – lightly sprinkled :)

    When I think of the light, I know how one tiny light can illuminate so much. I wake early before my kids and I try not to turn on the light, because it changes everything. It reveals, it shines wide – and it can be small too.

    We can make change. We can preserve. We can enhance. We can bring out the best. We can do it right where we are. He’s sprinkled us across the world to do the work and as long as there is a little bit of light; we can shine powerfully, as long theirs a little bit of salt we can pack a mighty punch. :)

    • Janet

      This is such great insight Jena. I love the thought of salt sprinkled on food and how we as Christ followers are sprinkled among the world and in others lives to make a change.

    • Emily B.

      I love what you said about a little salt and a little light making all the difference. Definitely something to ponder this morning!

    • Kara

      I love this! Sometimes I feel like I’m not making a difference, but He will use a sprinkle here and there to make change for His good purposes.

    • Heather

      Thank you for sharing this, it really helped me. God bless you.

  • New meaning breathed into these Scriptures this morning! Realizing that my eyes need to focus on the Lord and his goodness instead of darkness. Have been feeling burnt out lately and not feeling like myself. Thinking of the song “Lord, I need you, every hour I need you.” Every hour. Help me to remember this. Less of me and more of you. To develop an attitude of gratitude. To be the salt, to make people wonder and have it point back to you. Remove my anger. Create in me a new spirit and a new heart. Help me to be born again. I need a fresh start. Thank you for cleansing me with hyssop and making me as white as snow, with my sins removed far from me.

    • Jenn

      Summer I sang that song Wednesday morning and it was I joy when I got to church Wednesday night to hear them sing “Lord I Need You” oh yes yes I do. And my cover photo on Facebook is More of You Less of Me. Thank you again for reiterating. The Lord always speaks to me through others. :)

  • I must build on the foundation of Jesus in my life not leaving my tower half done. I must build it with His words and truth. Growing taller and stronger in my faith in Him. In my actions and words sharing the salt and light that He has put in me. So that others can taste and see that it is good. That they may want it for themselves. Dear Father in heaven help me to glorify you in this way.

  • I read the Luke 11 passage in the Message version of the Bible and really love how it expresses allowing the light of God to fill me. As it is even physically so dark this morning I am convicted of my tendency to be “squinty-eyed” especially lately as my to-do list seems never ending. Instead I want to live “wide-eyed in wonder”. Lord help me keep looking up to you in the midst of life’s responsibilities.

    ““If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.””
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:34-36‬ ‭MSG‬‬

  • Salt is a catalyst for change. It enhances taste and brings out the best flavor of the dish to which it has been added. As Christians, we too serve as that catalyst. By intermixing with others, we can help turn them into their best form. It only takes a little bit. If it sits in the salt shaker unused, no changes will happen. Just as if we sit on the sidelines and don’t bring Jesus into our thoughts, words and actions, we can’t bring out the best in other people.

    • Erica

      I love how you say that salt is a catalyst for change and we should be too! I’ve already gotten the basic idea of what the salt meant, but this is a really great way to put it that gets to a deeper meaning.

    • Brooke

      I love this comparison too! Thank you for sharing, it helps pull new meaning for me.

  • Churchmouse

    May I be God-shiny and salt – full as I go about this day. To God be the glory.

  • As so often happens in life, our troubles have recently multiplied. I went to bed last night with a heavy, heavy heart, praying silently to God for Him to help relieve my worries. My first thought this morning was, “Well, I just need to bring my best to every situation.” Then I heard His voice in my head telling me no: what I must do is bring God to every situation. My faith is my greatest gift and my brightest light; God will light my way and put the right amount of salt in everything I do. What I must remember is not to idolize myself above God. My plans and solutions can never be greater or better than His. My blessings are too many to count. And my greatest blessing is that God has me in His mighty arms. Now I just need to remember that from minute to minute. Let His light shine on me and through me, and trust that His salt is sufficient.

    • Summer


    • Virginia

      ❤️ ❤️the reminder my faith is greatest gift and brightest light. Daily I focus to grow on heights of my faith trusting The Lord to light and salt it through His Words reminders and your input comments SRT sisters! Feeling blessed of today study.

    • Emily B.


    • Mari

      Lifting you up in prayer Kay!

    • GramsieSue

      Love your words❤️❤️ And praying for you now.

    • Christina D.

      Thanks for sharing Kay. A great reminder and challenge to not rely on our own strengths in the midst of difficult circumstances but to bring God instead of ourselves. I think often times when we see others relying on God through difficulties His light shines even brighter. Thank you for this!

  • I was asking the Holy Spirit to help me understand the verses. This thought came to me. When you add salt to food it changes the food/taste. We can be used to help change people or a situation by drawing people to God by our lives, actions, and reactions. We need the light inside of us because of God shine! They can tell we are different by even the countenance of our faces and may cause people to want to know what we have that they don’t! We need to love Him the most! I believe I heard or need to revisit a commentary online ( which I just type in a verse to search for a commentary online when I’m confused) to see for sure, but I believe He isn’t telling us not to live our families, but He needs to be first. He is God and people aren’t. We shouldn’t idolize any person no matter how wonderful they appear. I’ve learned that people disappoint, but God is always there even when we can’t feel Him. The cost of following Jesus made me think of the time when many turned from Jesus. He asked His disciples if they were leaving too. I think Peter said to whom else shall we turn? You have the words to eternal life. Dear God, help me to be salt and light, and not turn people away. I can’t do this on my own. There is nothing good in me. Help me to remember that realization and carry with me. Help me to be humble and not proud and help me to walk in obedience to You. In Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen

    • Obi


    • Other Karen

      That’s my understanding too about Jesus’ comments about family…that we love Him so deeply that all other love pales in comparison, so much that it looks like hate.

    • Laura

      Kristen I agree, we must keep our eyes and hearts set above, lest our focus be on worldly things. Salt was used to preserve food from spoiling — this could be a stretch but in thinking about salt saving food, maybe by us being the salt and light we are showing others what it means/looks like to live redeemed – not perfect, but redeemed.

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