Sermon on the Mountain: the Greatest Sermon Ever Preached: part 2

Verses 13 to 16 from the 5th chapter of Matthew reads,

"Ye are the salt of the earth:

but if the salt have lost his savour,

wherewith shall it be salted?

it is thenceforth good for nothing,

but to be cast out,

and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the light of the world.

A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle,

and put it under a bushel,

but on a candlestick;

and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men,

that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

One finds this reading to be short but concise. There are two "ye are's" written as follows:

1. Ye are the salt of the earth, and

2. Ye are the light of the world.

Salt? Just plain NaCl. That is, Sodium Chloride, or simply "table salt." Salt is essential for life, period! We must have salt, in foods that we eat, or in sources, whatever, or wherever we get our salt from. There is a body requirement for salt that cannot be ignored. We, Americans, do not usually have to worry about meeting our bodies' requirement for salt. To the contrary, we Americans, as a rule, usually have to worry about eating too much salt. Most of the time we eat more that the medically recommended daily limits for salt. It is too easy for us to eat too much salt. Salt is in sodas (soft drinks or cokes or whatever), it is in our snacks, candy, potato chips, etc., and the list goes on and on and on.

However, this does not take away from the value of salt. Back in the days when Jesus walked the earth, men and women did not take salt for granted the way we do today here in America. Back in those days, salt was extremely valuable. Many time it was very difficult to acquire a reliable source of quality salt. There are example of merchants, salt merchants, who made their livings marketing salt. There were ships that hauled salt from distance places to places where it was needed. There were camel caravans, owned by merchants, that moved salt from mines or other locations to cities where salt was required.

To simplify a discussion that could produce a discourse that would take us far beyond the scope of this short paper that I am writing, allow me to say this, please. There is Life and Power in Salt, and it is essential for Life as we know it on Earth. Salt is an absolutely necessary chemical compound for life as we know it.

However, Jesus was using this concept of salt as a metaphor for "spiritual life." This is just me talking, by the way, as I explained before I stated to write this study on Sermon on the Mountain. I explained that I would give you my theological way of seeing the Sermon on the Mountain. You see, the way I see it, there can be not "physical existence" without a "spiritual existence." The way I see it, the spiritual came before the physical. There is nothing remarkable about my feeling about this. Many other people feel the same way I do.

So, Jesus is saying that "we are the salt of the earth." This is a spiritual way of looking at it. And then Jesus talked about what happens "if the salt have lost his savour." If one asks a British person what is savour, he or she will respond by saying, "savour is the quality in a substance that is perceived by the sense of taste or smell." This is a very powerful concept. Jesus understood the power in what he was saying and used the teaching example to "drive home" what he wanted us to know about ourselves. We are necessarily, powerful creatures, that God uses for getting his work on earth done. We are the salt of the earth!

Substance is a powerful concept also. When I was in the 1st grade, attending a one-roomed school house (a little school house that was like an Amish school house), my teacher was an 80 year old African-American woman, a Naturalist, who probably did not have a high school education. She was teaching me a lesson about a Copperhead viper. She said, and I remember the lesson well although I was only 5 years old when I was in the first grade, "the substance that causes this Copperhead snake to bite you is set within him. Never try to "pet" it! And I asked, "Miss Lottie, what is substance?" She answered, "Son, substance is "that" which makes "a thing" to be "what it is!"" It was years later before I fully understood what she had taught me.

"We are the salt, or the substance, of the world."

I have taken the time to think about what I should say about, "Ye are the light of the world."

I am not going to insult your intelligence. You know what Jesus is saying by reading this, just as it is, without my input or "meddling around" with it.

The 16th, and last verse in this periscope says it all, "Let your light so shine before men,

that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven."


To be honest with you, this discourse was more difficult to write that I had thought it would be. There are some really "heavy" lessons in this teaching session. I hope that I have not disappointed anybody. I prayed about this thing before I decided to do it, that is this thing of writing on The Sermon on the Mountain. I just needed to do something useful to help people understand God. People have approached me and said, "You are a Vanderbilt University trained theologian. Tell me this, "Who is God?"" This has happened to me more than once. It was very scary when it happened. I had to ask myself, quickly, "Who is God, really?" God had put me to the test. I hope, that my Life, as I walk this earth, will answer that question, "Who is God?" as men and women, and children too, see me, in action. As Mahalia Jackson sung so well, "Lord, help me to live the life I sing about in my songs." I pray, "Lord, help me!"

God bless you all. Have a wonderful day.

This is the second hub in a series on The Sermon on the Mountain

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