You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. — Matthew 5:13-16
Salt and light are disruptive. Jesus intended for His followers to be disruptive to the nations, culture, society and people He called them to. Jesus was a disruptor. When He said peace, He meant peace with God. When He said love, He meant keeping His Father’s commands. When He said life, He meant dying to the one they were living. When He said come, He meant get out on the water…leave your tax collectors table and upset your previous way of life.
When Jesus “comes in” it’s disruptive. How can absolute life, all-power and love without condition — enter a dying, sin-stained and self-absorbed world without shaking things up? This world is characterized by the desire to be accepted, celebrated and adored. But Jesus was never accepted, celebrated and adored for long. His “Triumphant Entrance” on Palm Sunday turned into His “Bloody Cross” not too long after. His teachings, healings and miraculous provision regularly led to being driven from town at the threat of beatings and death.
This place is not our home. We’re called to be disruptive, counter-culture and other worldly. If those outside of Christ’s Kingdom are finding permanent refuge and a place of constant affirmation in us, could it be we’ve lost our flavor? Could it be our light is being covered by a basket? We don’t have to try to be controversial. We are simply called to hear and follow Jesus. Our persistent and consistent fellowship and followship of Him will alter us, the way we engage others, and the way we see this world and function in it.
The constant question we must ask ourselves is, “Do I long to be a man or woman of the people? or Do I long to be a man or woman of God?” The way Jesus loved, lived and looked at things was not popular. In the end He was killed for choosing the Father’s will over the people’s will. What would today look like for you if you surrendered to being salty and bright?
For Joseph of Arimathea a wealthy business man and Pharisee, being salty and bright meant stepping out from the shadows and the flavor of the day shared by his contemporaries. He went to Pontious Pilate the Roman President of Syria and begged for the body of Jesus. Pilate commanded the body to be given to him and when Joseph received the body, he cleaned it and prepared it for burial by wrapping it in linen cloth and laying it in the tomb he’d purchased for his family (Matthew 27:58-60). This was not popular with the Romans — he would have been seen as a sympathizer. This was not popular with the Pharisees — he would have been seen as a traitor. And it likely was not even popular with the disciples — he was not considered one of them.
So why would Joseph risk his livelihood, safety and family name to do something that wouldn’t be celebrated by anyone? Because in that moment when his heart heard and responded God, he learned what it meant to be salt. He learned what it meant to be light. He learned what it meant to be disrupted and to become a disruptor to the nation, culture, society and people to which he had been called.
These calls to stand out as light and to bring a different flavor as salt are not self-contrived. They are directives from God. We live in the world but we don’t live as a product of the world. We live in a posture of readiness. We live with our proverbial necks extended and ears turned, watching and praying. We live ready to be what the King calls us to be. We live as Salt and Light — ready to be disrupted and ready to be disruptors.
perfect God. perfecting people.