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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light shining bright

Matthew 5:13 – Salt and Light

MT5:13 “You are the Salt of the earth.[1] But if the salt becomes tasteless[2] what will it salt? It is useless and thrown out for men to trample upon.[3]

Matthew 5:14-16 – Shining Bright

MT5:14 “You are the Light of the world.[4] A city cannot hide on a mountaintop. MT5:15 Nobody lights a lamp and then covers it with a basket but [they put it] on a lampstand and thus illuminate the entire household. MT5:16 So, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works[5] and glorify your Heavenly Father.[6]

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[1] Salt of the earth: Compare Mark 9:50 and Colossians 4:6. Salt is a preservative and used for seasoning. As a Nazarene Saint are you strong salt which makes spiritual food tasty and gracious? (Colossians 4:6) Are you a source of preservation of those words of the Nazarene which have been treasured for hundreds of centuries? Would the sayings of the Nazarene die out if it were dependent on its preservation because of you? Would the effort of skilled copyists and the misery of isolated Saints become worthless because of your failure to preserve these precious words of the Mountain Teachings?

[2] Tasteless: Various renderings are: MOF: insipid.

[3] To trample upon: The final use is for roads and pathways.

[4] Light of the world: The Nazarene left no written words. He promised a Spirit-Helper which would vitalize the memory of his disciples regarding everything he spoke (John chs 14, 16). Thus, his disciples were “salt” (as a preservative) and “light” as illuminators (See 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:5, 6). If it were not for their efforts we would possess nothing of the Nazarene! Does this effort, for which they gave their lives, and the effort of those later Nazarene copyists, move your heart to become better acquainted with the words of this Mountain Sermon? If it were left to you would these die out or be preserved to enlighten future generations?

At times of special illumination in Jerusalem the clothes of ancient and worthy priests were made into torches and by these the whole Temple was lit and Jerusalem could be seen from miles away.

[5] Works: Here the “light” is associated with the disciples’ “work.” This is different from that outward show the Nazarene later counsels against in Matthew 6:1-7.

[6] Father: This is the first occurrence of the Nazarene’s favorite designation for the Creator. He uses “Father” 17 times in his sermon (Matthew 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 26, 32; 7:11, 21). In all the Hebrew Bible there are less than a dozen references to God as Father, so in this one sermon the Nazarene uses it more often than the entire Old Testament. The second preferred designation is the word “God” (usually The God, TON THEON) and this occurs 6 times in the sermon (Matthew 5:8, 9, 34; 6:8, 24, 30). There is possibly (but not probably) a third designation in YHWH at Matthew 5:33; however, throughout the Gospels the Nazarene prefers first “Father” and then “God.”

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

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Additional reading

  1. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  2. You Need Light for Your Path
  3. Honesty beginning of holiness Walking in the light
  4. Heroes and saints
  5. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  6. Looking for the perceptible or the latent or what needed for us
  7. Searching, light, fear and deliverance
  8. The true light in recorded words

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  9. Salt and Light :: Communion Liturgy
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  13. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
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  15. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
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  18. The Fast to Which We Are Called
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