The demands of discipleship (Matthew 5: 13–16, 16: 24–26)

Salt and light

Jesus taught his followers to be like salt.

He uses an everyday object so that people would clearly understand his meaning. At the time of Jesus salt was very important. It preserved meat (before there were any fridges salt was used) and it added flavour to food.

Jesus adds that if salt loses its saltiness it cannot be restored, so it becomes useless and is thrown away. Jesus uses this image to show that if Christians have lost their dedication to God then their effect on others is useless.

With a similar message, Jesus also teaches us to be the light of the world. He says that our faith should shine out and be an example to others, like a city built on a hill.

He then uses the example of an oil lamp. It was brought into the home to provide light, so it wasn’t hidden under the bed but instead set on a lampstand where it could have most impact.

Jesus is saying that for the Christian message to spread and develop, followers must proclaim and show their faith.