The Gospel According to Matthew
by Timothy L. Decker, Th.M.
Often, the metaphor of salt and light used by Jesus in Matthew 5:13–16 is interpreted and treated as if they fell from heaven apart from the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. This article will argue that one should read the salt and light statements in vv. 13–16 in light of the preceding context of the beatitudes. Further, I contend that the final beatitude in vv. 11–12 is thematically and syntactically related to the salt and light of vv. 13–16 and serve as a transition between the beatitudes proper in vv. 3–10 and the salt and light statements. If such is the case, then the significance of reading vv. 11–12 with vv. 13–16 drastically changes the tone of the salt/light metaphor due to the contextual relationship with persecution. [more]