Day 19

Salt and Light

from the The Parables of Jesus reading plan


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

BY She Reads Truth

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.

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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.

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

Questions:

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?

Post Comments (64)

64 thoughts on "Salt and Light"

  1. Theresa says:

    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.”

    1. Lauren Brown says:

      I love this insight!

  2. Bethany Elza says:

    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.

  3. Beth S says:

    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!

  4. Tammy says:

    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.

  5. Natalia says:

    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!!

    1. Cori says:

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

    2. Barb says:

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

    3. Elle says:

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

  6. Kristi says:

    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.”

    1. S. says:

      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.

  7. Lauren Rogers says:

    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?

  8. Lou says:

    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.

    1. Emily B. says:

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

    2. Beth says:

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

    3. Kristin Hope says:

      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.

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