Matthew 5:13 Elucidation

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Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Matthew 5:13

Confusion With Mark 9:50

A lot of people seem to think that this verse means that we should avoid being trodden under foot of men by, metaphorically speaking, keeping our flavor as salt. This error comes about because of a very similar saying that goes, For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.Mark 9:49-50

But even though these both deal with salt, they are not talking about the same subject. Mark is recording Jesus talking about entrance into eternal life, and how things like arms aren't need for it.(See section preceding Mark 9:49-50.) Matthew is recording Jesus talking about people that are persecuted, likely for being children of God.(See section preceding Matthew 5:13.)

To Be Seen With Luke 14:34 Back to Top ↑

Rather than Mark, a saying from Luke applies with the saying from Matthew perfectly. Jesus says, So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.Luke 14:33-35

Just as every beatitude applies to Lazarus, who was a beggar who had nothing in this life, not even strength to fend off dogs that came to lick his wounds,(Luke 16:20-22.) so too does the statement in Luke apply to him. Lazarus had forsaken all. If we liken Lazarus to salt, he would be worthless for everything, having no flavor, and would be trodden under foot of man and cast out.

Be Good for Nothing Back to Top ↑

Lazarus was carried away by the angels because he had nothing in this world. And what happened to him? He was found to be good for nothing, and was cast out and trodden under foot of men.

This gross neglect of this world is why Jesus says things like, But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Matthew 5:39-42 None of these things are good for man. They all symbolize that we should be abused by those sons of this world.

This makes sense. We are not of this world, but of the kingdom of heaven, a nation that does not belong on this world.(John 18:36.) Just as God directed the nation of Israel to slay several other nations in the Old Testament, so too will these men of the world seek to destroy us.

And that's fine. These men will live once. We will live twice. Let them have their best life now on this awful world, because so long as we do the will of God,(Matthew 7:21.) we have an even better one coming.

The Treasure Hid in a Field and the Pearl of Great Price Back to Top ↑

Consider these two stories from Jesus. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.Matthew 13:44-46

In both of these stories, the man sells everything that he has to buy their treasure. The treasure represents entrance into the kingdom of God and into eternal life. The treasure in these stories were corporal things, land and a pearl. But in real life, the treasure has nothing to do with this world at it, it has everything to do with heaven, which is where Jesus wants us to store treasure.(Matthew 6:19-21.)

But do you think these two men's wives would be happy that everything was sold for so little? What about their friends? Would they be happy to suddenly see these two men absolutely beaming at acquiring some useless goods?

Jesus said to a man who followed all the law, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.Mark 10:21 cf Luke 18:22 This man couldn't do it. The two men in the stories could, but these men couldn't. They couldn't bear the shame of once having so much and now suffering at the hands of the men of this world like Jesus did on the cross because of their lack of things in this world.

But Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.Mark 10:29-30 He was serious about leaving everything.

Can you imagine what happens when you leave your family behind? Your children? Your houses and your jobs and become no better than Lazarus, a beggar? Of course the world is going to hate you and cast you out. You're not even salty enough to thaw the roads of ice!

And that is what Jesus means by his saying, Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Matthew 5:13

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