I have been reading a lot about the emergent church, deconstructing and reconstructing your faith. It has caused me to question some things and in some ways I am learning to separate “church” from Jesus. I decided the best way to start for me, is to study Jesus. The first study I have decided to do is on the questions Jesus asked. There are some 300 (several people have actually made a list) and I may not tackle every one because some may not lend themselves to anything theological. I started a new notebook and jotted down the categories I wanted to explore. They are as follows: The scripture reference, Context (who, what, where), Cross reference in the gospels, Old Testament reference if any, Quotes and Commentary, Conclusions, and Observations and then anything else – stuff I might want to give a different category for later. It sounds kind of dry but it will help to keep me organized. What follows is the first question I came to.
Scripture: Matthew 5:13 You are the salt the earth, but what good is salt if it has lost it’s flavor? Can you make it salty again?
Context: Sermon on the Mount, right after the beatitudes which lay down the principles and rules of the kingdom of God. Speaking to Jews or Christians familiar with the Jewish faith
Gospel Cross Reference: Luke 14:34 Salt is good, but if it has lost it’s flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land or the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Heading – cost of discipleship)
Old Testament Reference: Salt – Leviticus 2:13 (laws about grain offerings) Numbers 18:19 salt covenant – everlasting, 2 Chronicles 13:5 David and descendants everlasting covenant of salt, Ezekiel 43-23bull and ram sacrifice sprinkled with salt – reminder of everlasting covenant, Genesis 19:23-26 Lot’s wife turned to salt – she lost her preserving qualities and became one with the world? Colossians 4:2-6 conversations should be seasoned with salt.
Quotes, Commentary: Kingdom action: function as salt, The pharisees took the basic laws delivered by God into hundreds. Jesus, through Matthew 5 compares the common standards for right and wrong to the standards He has set. He says we can’t live a righteous life through working harder- only through yielding to Him (From the inside out)
Observations, Conclusions: Following Jesus means to have salt or the flavor of Christ in every part of our lives. Salt preserves and purifies so having Christ in every part of our lives saves and cleanses us as an ongoing act of salvation.
Miscellaneous: Salt in biblical times was used as a flavoring, preservative, and purifier, Treaties were sealed with salt. Sometimes Roman soldiers were paid in salt.
Prayer: Father thank you for salt, for flavor in our lives. Teach me your ways. Let me have enough Christian flavor that I enhance everything around me and cause people to hunger for you. Amen