too much

Seriously? This much for one day? I don't think it is possible for me to do justice to the great material in this chapter. So, I'll not comment on everything that is on my mind. (If you want to dig into some thoughts I'm having about verses 38-42, google Walter Wink - the third way. You'll find a lot of great material there...and you will find yourself frustrated and encouraged and ...)

One of my favorite parts of Jesus' teachings is found here in chapter 5, verses 13-16. This is good stuff, and a great challenge to us as followers of Christ. We are salt and we are light. If we don't 'taste' good, if we've lost our saltiness, we have missed something. We should 'taste' good in the way that we live and talk in the world. We should shine because of Who lives in and through us. These things should be externally evident. But it isn't just because of the external. Salt tastes a certain way because of the chemical makeup. Light has visible qualities because of the source. In the same way, we are salty and shiny (shiny, happy people everywhere...) only because of an internal change. We can act like salt and light for a time, but if we aren't composed of a substance that creates the saltiness and light, it will not last. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is that internal source - He is the One that changes us. If we aren't salty and shiny, maybe we need to look internally rather than simply working on the externals.

I hope you 'taste' good to those around you and that you bring some light to someone's day today. If you follow Christ, if you have the Holy Spirit within you, you are salt and light. May we be salty and shiny people.


  1. This passage, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, is what challenged me to pursue understanding what the kingdom of God really looks like, nd wanting to be a Bible teacher. When I was in college, this passage, as Matt says, really messed with me. It presented a Kingdom that was, literally, upside-down: the poor being blessed, the merciful not being walked all over, the hungry having abundance, etc. My favorite passage in this fifth chapter, is located in verses 38-48. Jesus' teachings on non-resistance and love are so revolutionary. I have been studying Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Era over the past few years, and it was so amazing learning how MLK took Jesus' instruction on loving your enemies and put them into action. He tells a story in his book "The Strength to Love" (which is awesome by the way) about Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" MLK says, "that is the power of redemptive love." Sorry for the long post! I just got so excited about this blog thing I went crazy!

  2. Okay, this passage concerns me. My concern is that "the church" tends to take things like this out of context. Verses 38-40 are spoken of by Jesus in the context of persecution and our enemies. The application, many times, is taken into our personal, tong-term relationships. Like we're supposed to "turn the other cheek" and not confront unhealthy behavior. I think this happens a lot in "the church" and is very dangerous. This kind of interpretation communicates that it's spiritual to be a doormat. It may sound spiritual, but it's not what Jesus is talking about.

  3. keep writing mr Bible teacher. we need your wisdom and insight. it enhances the study.

    pam - great point. context is vitally important to reading the Bible. i think michael fay (mr. Bible teacher) could help with the context of this passage. i've got a great commentary on this somewhere...just need to find it.

  4. Salt and light.... an enormous challenge to believers. A call of epic proportions that is somewhat daunting. When I reflected on the depth of this teaching and the seriousness of the call on the life of a follower of Christ to be a visible and effective representative of the teachings of Christ, I was overwhelmed. In daily life we seek to be a light on a hill by acting on the promptings of God's Holy Spirit but in the end we realize there is nothing we dan do within ourselves to measure up to this unattainable position. Nothing short of God's Holy Spirit within us and for us allows us to be the kind of light that Jesus is describing. Once again I am reminded of the unfathomable depths of God's grace. By and through His grace and mercy and the gift of Christ we can be who He calls us to be. Matt: appreciate your insights on this subject... these passages also struck me particularly poignantly as well. Blessings to all.

  5. Unfortunately, this passage probably has been interpreted that way in the past to someone in "the church". However, I also think it is a great reminder that our life experiences will always influence our impression of a verse.

    I think that to "turn the other cheek" means to not engage in battle with someone. Confronting someone in love with truth is not engaging in an attack against them. In fact, I believe it's a part of the process of "loving your enemy". To apply this verse to our lives, I think, means to not stoop the tho other person's level; to not act in a way that prolongs an ongoing feud. As far as persecution by an enemy, of course who that enemy is will have an affect on the physical boundaries of what a person can and should do but ultimately we are called to speak truth and forgive. I think that is the opposite of being a doormat.