Matthew 5: Standing Out
Matthew chapter 5 brings us to probably the most popular teaching passage of Jesus Christ. During the Sermon on the Mount, He said a lot of things, and we could spend tons of time here, but for the one day that we have together, I went to call our attention to a summary.
Mat 5:13 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.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 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.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The rest of the Sermon refers to what we do. We find out who is going to be blessed. We find out how Jesus came to fulfill the Law rather than destroy it. There are a lot of things here that speak to us about lifestyle.
Set in that context, Jesus is talking to these Jewish people who have come to follow Him. They had the Law. They were used to being a special people. God had always set apart the people of Israel, but He is challenging them here to live up to their calling. The imagery would have been familiar to them in some sense.
The Law was a large part of what made them different, and by following the Law, the consequence should have been a society that did good works and caused people to glorify God in heaven. Jesus was challenging them to remember their calling to ultimately bring glory to God through their lives. Even though He was changing the dimension and making salvation free for all through faith, using this type of chosen language would have resonated with His audience. They would have understood what it meant to stand out even if they did not need the sacrificial system or other Old Testament hallmarks anymore.
I think the same applies to all of us today. We have the Truth. We know what Jesus taught, and we know what He expects of us. As a result, the commands that Jesus spoke to that particular audience seems to be applicable to us as well. If we have the Light of the World within us, should we not be sure to reflect that light on the world around us through how we live our lives?