Matthew 5:13-16
The Definition of Discipleship

Part 2: The Disciple’s Influence

Matthew 5:13-16

 Salt for the Blandness of the World (v. 13)

  1. Salt is a preservative.
  2. Salt enhances flavor.
  3. Salt creates thirst.


Light for the Blindness of the World (vv. 14-16)

  1. Light can be comforting.
  2. Light provides direction.
  3. Light reveals truth.


More to Consider

Years ago, the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor's saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.

Whether we realize it or not, our example leaves an impression on others. Sign in an executive's office: "What I am about to say represents one four-billionth of the world's opinion."

Jack Williams, Phoenix Gazette.


Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

Albert Schweitzer


When we look at the two metaphors more closely, we see that they are deliberately phrased in order to be parallel to each other. In each case Jesus first makes an affirmation (‘You are the salt of the earth,’ ‘You are the light of the world’). Then he adds a rider, the condition on which the affirmation depends (the salt must retain its saltness, the light must be allowed to shine). Salt is good for nothing if its saltness is lost; light is good for nothing if it is concealed.

John Stott


In Matthew 5, Jesus famously told Christians that we are to be “the salt of the earth.” In the ancient world, before we’d discovered refrigerators and before fast-food restaurants had worked out how to make food out of plastic, salt had a vital function as a preservative. But in order to work that way, it had to be in contact with the thing it was supposed to preserve. And the same is true when it comes to the gospel. In our everyday lives we need to be mixing with those we want to influence.

Andy Bannister, How to Talk About Jesus Without Sounding Like an Idiot