Matthew 5:1-16 – The Beatitudes: You Are Salt and Light


Matthew 5:1-16


Jesus’ teaching begins with the announcement of God’s blessing in response to which it is fitting to rejoice and, like salt and light, let this blessing of God be seen in good works that give glory to the Father in heaven.


Blessing is a favorite word of Matthew, as a quick concordance search will reveal. It is thus significant both for the Sermon and for the whole of Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus begins with this theme. Blessing has to do with how the Gospel understands the kingdom of heaven. Blessing is not first of all a program to fulfill, but a rehearsing of the promises of God that in the repetitive refrains are meant to be seen as touching and shaping all areas of life. God’s blessing is as much a part of the essence of God’s people as saltiness and illumination are part of the essence of what it means to be salt and light. “In the same way” (5:16), those who are blessed will show forth that blessing in good works that give glory to God.