Jesus words in Matthew 5 have been interpreted in many ways. Commonly, people have suggested sea salt was used as a preservative in food, and Jesus was commanding his disciples to preserve what is good in the world. But according to Cris Rogers, the salt Jesus was referring to was not a preservative, but was used as an antiseptic.
You are the salt of the earth
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"I was in Jerusalem visiting a Bedouin camp with a bunch of shepherds, when I noticed a pile of salt and asked what it was for," Cris says.
"They explained to me that when you’re in the desert and you need to go to the toilet, you would dig a hole, do what you needed to do in the hole, and then put salt on top of your waste as a way of it being an antiseptic."
Mixed into the Messiness of Life
"It would stop any flies lying on your waste and then your food. I love the fact that Jesus turns to his disciples and says: 'You are salt of the earth'. Salt of the earth was not salt that was used for cooking, that’s sea salt. Salt of the earth was cheap salt that helps your waste decompose."
"What I love about that picture is that it’s about proximity. The salt isn’t just on top of the waste, it’s mixed in and helps the waste decompose. The salt makes the waste holy. It’s an image of holiness and cleaniness and bringing that into the messiness of life."
"I love that because that is what the Church is meant to be; we’re meant to be a holy antiseptic in the world, living our lives in proximity to the messiness. Yet very often we do the opposite and separate ourselves away from the world."
Context, Culture and Meaning
It's insights like these that Cris Rogers revells in. Keen to understand the original context to Jesus words in the New Testament, the church leader has spent time in Israel researching the culture of Biblical times. For more from Cris get hold of his book: The Bible Book By Book : A Journey Through It's People, Places and Themes.
March 7th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes