Gospel: Matthew 5:13-20
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Lesson: Isaiah 58:5-9a
Psalm: Psalm 112
CLB Pastors Network – Dr. Eugene Boe
Jesus says to his disciples, the blessed ones (Matthew 5:3-12), these words in our text. “You are the salt of the earth.” (Present tense indicative) They are what Jesus says; a statement of fact, a statement of reality. This is who you are; the salt of the earth. “You are the light of the world.” (Present tense indicative) They are what Jesus says; a statement of fact, a statement of reality. This is who you are; the light of the world. This is not who they are in themselves. Jesus gives them their new identity. What Jesus says they are; they are indeed!
Because they are what Jesus says, they are able to be in the world what Jesus says they are; salt and light. It is Jesus who has made them what they are. The power to be salt and light in the world is from His. By way of Jesus, they are the salt and light the world needs. They are Jesus’ salt and light. They are and do what salt and light are and do.
Through Jesus fulfilling the Law, there is for them righteousness; a righteousness that exceeds all others. Jesus does what no other can do. He fulfills the Law, every iota and dot of it. The Law having been fulfilled by Jesus; means righteousness for disciples. A righteousness not of their own doing, but a righteousness done, completed, finished by Jesus and theirs as gift through him.
These words are also addressed to us who are his disciples. We are what they say. In the sermon this will take the shape of the first person proclamation. “You are the salt of the earth!” “You are the light of the world!” This is indeed who you are!
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
“The reference to the ‘city on a hill’ is at one level fairly obvious. Often built of white limestone, ancient towns gleamed in the sun and could not easily be hidden. At night the inhabitants’ oil lamps would shed some glow over the surrounding area. As such cities could not be hidden, so also it is unthinkable to light a lamp and hide it under a bowl. A lamp is put on a lampstand to illuminate all…”
“But the ‘city on a hill’ saying may also refer to OT prophecies about the time when Jerusalem, or the mountain of the Lord’s house, or Zion, would be lifted up before the world, the nations streaming to it (e.g., Isa 2:2-5). This allusion has recently been defended by scholars. It is not a certain allusion, and the absence of definite articles tells against it; but if valid it insists that Jesus’ disciples constitute the true locus of the people of God, the outpost of the consummated kingdom, and the means of witness to the world – all themes central to Matthew’s thought.”
Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.
Matthew – H.A. Ironside, Litt.D.
“‘I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil.’ This our Lord did in three ways: by His perfect obedience He magnified the law and made it honorable (Isa. 42:21); by His death He met all its claims against the lawbreakers, and so He becomes the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe (Rom.10:4); by His Spirit He enables believers to fulfil the righteous requirements of the law (Rom. 8:4).”
Ironside, H.A., Matthew. Neptune,NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1948.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“Among the Jews the scribes and the Pharisees were regarded as those who most perfectly and completely taught and lived up to the will of God as embodied in the Old Testament. The people looked up to them as being the very greatest in the kingdom, and they held the same high estimate concerning themselves. These estimates were, of course, wholly false, as Jesus will also show in detail in his sermon. The scribes and the Pharisees were the opposite of models for the disciples in meeting the will of God. Hence the explanation: to be great, or to be even the least in the kingdom Christ’s disciples will have to surpass the scribes and the Pharisees by far.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.