According to A.T. Robertson’s priceless “Harmony of the Gospels,” the first of Jesus’ parables were delivered during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
“When (Jesus) saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them, saying … You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:1-2, 13).
Jesus repeated this memorable parabolic saying as recorded in Mark and Luke. “Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another” Mark 9:50). “Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty? It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen” (Luke 14:34–35).
Jesus commanded His disciples to “be like salt!”
Salt. Yum! I enjoy salty popcorn and peanuts and potato chips. I salt my beans and corn and cauliflower. A perfectly grilled steak wouldn’t be the same without salt. I put salt on fresh tomatoes and on watermelon. I even put salt on a fresh, crispy apple. It’s savory! It makes good things better.
And salt has an interesting characteristic. It makes us thirsty. Eat a handful of salty potato chips and we suddenly crave a large glass of iced tea… right?
Jesus said, “Be like salt. Be attractive. Be filled with joy, peace, and love. Live before a watching world, demonstrating grace and mercy.” If we’ll live like Jesus, others will become thirsty for Jesus.
Salt has another characteristic. It preserves. Our grandfathers packed a ham in salt to preserve it. And why do you think a can of SpaghettiOs has six hundred grams of salt? Salt preserves, so a can of the little Os has a shelf-life of about a hundred years.
Christians are called to evangelize, to share the saving grace of our Savior. As we are faithful to fulfill our commission, the world is preserved into eternity.
Christians display “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23)? Real salt is salty? Un-salty salt isn’t “good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13).
Going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian and putting sand into a saltshaker doesn’t make it salt. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
“Let anyone who has ears to hear listen” (Luke 14:35).