Reflection: While we don’t know what the salt metaphor meant exactly, the light metaphor is clear and powerful. Again, Jesus says “yous” in the plural, not “you” in the singular. The Christian community collectively is the light of the world.
This idea of a world saving-light comes straight from Isaiah. “I will also make you a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Or “Listen to me, my people: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way” (Isaiah 51:4). The Prophet declared that one day God will light up the world with his justice, righteousness, and salvation.
Jesus said this will be fulfilled as his followers live out his ‘instruction’ about righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount: “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” To “glorify God” is a biblical expression for ‘conversion’. Jesus is describing people coming to know the light of ‘salvation’ Isaiah promised. And, amazingly, Jesus said it will happen through ‘good deeds’. In context, Jesus must mean things like “peacemaking”, “mercy”, “meekness”, and so on—all the things he’s been talking about.
The Sermon on the Mount, then, isn’t just the genius of God for our blessing. When we live it out, it lights up the world with salvation—through our deeds of mercy people are drawn to the God of mercy. That is a blessed life!
Question: What “good deeds” offer people the clearest picture of God’s grace? How today might you convey that grace through word and deed?