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Tue, May 31, 2016
Jesus said we are salt and light
By truthbook staff
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So often, when I see titles like this in the popular press, I am inspired to write a little something; this one is called You are salt and light, said Jesus: but what did he really mean? by Mark Woods. It's the subject of our blog below; but first, here's a blurb from the article:
"We know the sayings very well – they're in Matthew 5:13-16. And perhaps we've thought about what they mean. Christians are meant to make a difference in the world. We're to stand up for what's right, we're to campaign for justice and righteousness, and we're to speak truth to power. It's about being prophetic voices in a world that doesn't acknowledge God; if we're called to be the light, it's because there's so much darkness all around.
"That may all be true. But perhaps we should go a bit further back. Why did Jesus, or why did Matthew, put these sayings here? Why immediately after the beatitudes in the first few verses of Matthew, the 'blessed ares' – "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the merciful, the pure in heart?"
"A text without a context is a pretext. So what this seems to be saying is that the people who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world are the same as those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who are peacemakers and who are persecuted.
"Being salt and light means being this kind of person. It's not so much about what you do; it's much more about what you are. It's about your character, and you are in your inner being."
Click to read the entire article
Context is Important
And this opinion is valuable - this article is worth a read. BUT - if we really want to know what is being said here, the real context will be quite illuminating, as the author of the article observes. And where do we find that proper context?
Urantia Book readers are very familiar with these wonderful sayings and this wonderful discourse of the Master. In The Urantia Book, we discover that it is, in actuality, the Ordination Sermon to the apostles
Here is that sermon, in its entirety:
140:3.1 Then Jesus spoke, saying: "Now that you are ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, you have thereby become a class of men separate and distinct from all other men on earth. You are not now as men among men but as the enlightened citizens of another and heavenly country among the ignorant creatures of this dark world. It is not enough that you live as you were before this hour, but henceforth must you live as those who have tasted the glories of a better life and have been sent back to earth as ambassadors of the Sovereign of that new and better world. Of the teacher more is expected than of the pupil; of the master more is exacted than of the servant. Of the citizens of the heavenly kingdom more is required than of the citizens of the earthly rule. Some of the things which I am about to say to you may seem hard, but you have elected to represent me in the world even as I now represent the Father; and as my agents on earth you will be obligated to abide by those teachings and practices which are reflective of my ideals of mortal living on the worlds of space, and which I exemplify in my earth life of revealing the Father who is in heaven.
140:3.2 "I send you forth to proclaim liberty to the spiritual captives, joy to those in the bondage of fear, and to heal the sick in accordance with the will of my Father in heaven. When you find my children in distress, speak encouragingly to them, saying:
"Happy are the poor in spirit, the humble, for theirs are the treasures of the kingdom of heaven.
"Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
"Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
"Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"And even so speak to my children these further words of spiritual comfort and promise:
"Happy are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Happy are they who weep, for they shall receive the spirit of rejoicing.
"Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
"Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
"Happy are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
140:3.12 "My brethren, as I send you forth, you are the salt of the earth, salt with a saving savor. But if this salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
140:3.13 "You are the light of the world. A city set upon a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven.
140:3.14 "I am sending you out into the world to represent me and to act as ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, and as you go forth to proclaim the glad tidings, put your trust in the Father whose messengers you are. Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need.
140:3.15 "I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them.
140:3.16 "Your Father in heaven makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as upon the good; likewise he sends rain on the just and the unjust. You are the sons of God; even more, you are now the ambassadors of my Father's kingdom. Be merciful, even as God is merciful, and in the eternal future of the kingdom you shall be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.
140:3.17 "You are commissioned to save men, not to judge them. At the end of your earth life you will all expect mercy; therefore do I require of you during your mortal life that you show mercy to all of your brethren in the flesh. Make not the mistake of trying to pluck a mote out of your brother's eye when there is a beam in your own eye. Having first cast the beam out of your own eye, you can the better see to cast the mote out of your brother's eye.
140:3.18 "Discern the truth clearly; live the righteous life fearlessly; and so shall you be my apostles and my Father's ambassadors. You have heard it said: `If the blind lead the blind, they both shall fall into the pit.' If you would guide others into the kingdom, you must yourselves walk in the clear light of living truth. In all the business of the kingdom I exhort you to show just judgment and keen wisdom. Present not that which is holy to dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample your gems under foot and turn to rend you.
140:3.19 "I warn you against false prophets who will come to you in sheep's clothing, while on the inside they are as ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but the corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot yield evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is presently hewn down and cast into the fire. In gaining an entrance into the kingdom of heaven, it is the motive that counts. My Father looks into the hearts of men and judges by their inner longings and their sincere intentions.
140:3.20 "In the great day of the kingdom judgment, many will say to me, `Did we not prophesy in your name and by your name do many wonderful works?' But I will be compelled to say to them, `I never knew you; depart from me you who are false teachers.' But every one who hears this charge and sincerely executes his commission to represent me before men even as I have represented my Father to you, shall find an abundant entrance into my service and into the kingdom of the heavenly Father."
140:3.21 Never before had the apostles heard Jesus speak in this way, for he had talked to them as one having supreme authority. They came down from the mountain about sundown, but no man asked Jesus a question.
The Authors of The Urantia Book Comment
And not only is the ordination sermon itself given, but there follows this commentary on the points made in the sermon...in commentary made by the revelators of the book; for example, in expanding upon these two metaphors of salt and light, we read the following:
140:4.1 The so-called "Sermon on the Mount" is not the gospel of Jesus. It does contain much helpful instruction, but it was Jesus' ordination charge to the twelve apostles. It was the Master's personal commission to those who were to go on preaching the gospel and aspiring to represent him in the world of men even as he was so eloquently and perfectly representative of his Father.
140:4.2 "You are the salt of the earth, salt with a saving savor. But if this salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
140:4.3 In Jesus' time salt was precious. It was even used for money. The modern word "salary" is derived from salt. Salt not only flavors food, but it is also a preservative. It makes other things more tasty, and thus it serves by being spent.
140:4.4 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven."
140:4.5 While light dispels darkness, it can also be so "blinding" as to confuse and frustrate. We are admonished to let our light so shine that our fellows will be guided into new and godly paths of enhanced living. Our light should so shine as not to attract attention to self. Even one's vocation can be utilized as an effective "reflector" for the dissemination of this light of life.
And there's so much more...
Read all of Paper 140 - The Ordination of the Twelve
And this is another example of why Part IV of The Urantia Book - the Life and Teachings of Jesus - is such a valuable discovery for all those who want to know more about Jesus and his life. This amazing revelation of the details of the Master's life illuminate the previous records that have come to us primarily from Scripture. Those records - as inspiring as they are - are very incomplete in many instances. The Urantia Book's restatement of the life of Jesus fills in all the missing details - and provides the context for these familiar stories, as well as the context for a wide variety of other, heretofore unknown stories of Jesus' life...stories of Jesus' childhood, the missing years, the facts and strategies of his public and private ministry on earth, and the true purposes of Jesus' incarnation on this world.
The Ordination Sermon is just one instance. Read Part IV of The Urantia Book, and discover Jesus all over again! You'll be so glad you did...
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