If someone was to come up to you and say, “you are one salty dude” it would probably be thought of as them calling you, an experienced old fella. Maybe even as someone who was really good at something you’ve been doing for a long time.
But when Jesus looked at His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount, He had a completely different meaning in mind. At the time He spoke it to the disciples, there’s no doubt they knew exactly what He was saying.
Matthew 5:13 KJV says…
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.
At the time Jesus made this statement, salt was an expensive and treasured commodity that was crucial and needed in many areas of their life. By using this illustration that His listeners are salt, Jesus is teaching about the influence we are supposed to have upon the world that we live in.
During the time Jesus spoke this to his disciples, salt was not as common as it is today. We can find salt everywhere, in every household and readily available at stores. But back then, high quality salt could only be found in a few places in Israel. One location was the Hill of Salt, which is a stretch of land on the coast of the Dead Sea.
The gathering of salt back then was an expensive process which made the salt very costly. Salt was a commodity that was seldom wasted, sparingly used, and highly valued. In the warm temperatures of Israel, meat would quickly rot, spoil or decay; but when they added salt, to the meat it acted as a preservative.
So when the people heard Jesus teaching “we are to be the salt of the earth”, they understood that Jesus was saying through our influence, we should be a preserving force in a world that is filled with rot, spoil and decay.
God’s Word working in our lives causes us to be like salt. Our very presence helps abate the corruption that is eating away at the world.
Now we all know that salt has the ability to enhance the taste of food. Without salt food can be bland. In like manner, our presence should also be an enhancement to the flavor of society. When a believer shows up, it’s like bringing the flavor of Christ into our surroundings wherever we go.
Another use of salt in the times of Jesus was as an antiseptic. In areas where it was considered unclean, or contaminated, it was believed that salt, if properly applied in heavy doses, would sanitize and clean the area. Salt was used to prevent the spread of sickness and disease among animals and was scattered in barns and the land to deter disease.
We are salt to the unsaved world. As sin continues to spread, we are the preserving antiseptic. The Father has dispatched believers throughout different regions to salt the sin infected world. We have been called to share God’s Word as the disinfecting agent of our time.
Salt is also a healing agent. Physicians would pour salt into the wound to sanitize it from germs. When we influence those around us through the preaching of God’s word, and personal ministry to the physically ill, we bring healing to those physically suffering. As the salt of the world, we are carriers of physical healing to a world that is suffering from all kinds of sickness and ailments.
The power of the Holy Spirit that we carry within us is fully sufficient to administer physical healing to those afflicted with sickness and disease. This is all done, of course, by the authority given to us in the name of Jesus.
Salt has three main functions. Salt can destroy, salt can heal and salt can preserve. In Judges 9:45 King Abimelech (an evil King) sowed salt into the land so it would not produce any productive crops. He used salt to destroy the land.
Salt can heal. In 2 Kings 2:19-21 Elisha uses salt to heal the bitter waters and to this day the springs of water are healed.
Lastly, salt can preserve. In Leviticus 2:13 they were told to season with salt their offerings. Why? Because salt preserves and sanctifies and sets apart the offerings to the Lord.
If we (Christians), as the salt of the earth, don’t do our job, then the Lord doesn’t have any other method of preserving the earth. It (the earth) will rot as people trample it underfoot without the preserving influence that God’s people are intended to give.
Let’s be the Salt of the Earth that Jesus declared us to be.
Pastor James Everette