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Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotional - The Gospel according to Saint Matthew chapter Five

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Reverend Steve Zandstra

The Gospel according to Saint Matthew chapter Five

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.  14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

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The Church season of Lent is an annual spiritual practice that implores us to take off the old clothing of sin so that we may be clothed anew by Jesus Christ.  In Scripture—salt is often referred to as a means for both sweetening and preserving. In Old Testament times sacrifices were often salted before being offered.  In the Early Christian Church after renouncing the devil and his works and confessing the Apostles’ Creed, adult converts were given salt before being Baptized.   The physical taste of salt was a perceptible way of reminding Christians their lives are different and distinct from the world.

In Second Kings 2 the prophet Elisha used salt to sweeten the undrinkable water in Jericho.  He told the people to bring a “new bowl and put salt in it” and then he threw it into the spring declaring “Thus says the Lord, ‘I have healed the water’” (21) and the people could drink the water.  Six hundred fifty or so years later in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says of all believers, “You are the salt of the earth” (13), meaning that your life in Christ has a different flavor than that of others: because there is something unique, joyful, and wholesome in the way you speak, live, and act.  St. Paul writes to the Church, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”  (Colossians 4:6).

In the midst of life’s sour and bitter experiences, amid those stressful situations, Jesus comes to sweeten, enliven, and refresh you through the salt of His healing Word.  Our Lenten walk reminds us that God is not distant, He promises to deliver you from all your troubles and to heal those things that are broken in life.  To prove His love for us He sent His Son to die on Calvary’s cross to heal us completely from sin and eternal death.  As the ancient people used salt to make food last longer, as the priests added salt to the grain and burnt offerings, Jesus is the salt who has come to preserve you and keep you.  Yes, Jesus died as the sacrifice on the cross to heal you and save you from your diseased life!  As your great High Priest, Jesus was salted and sacrificed for you, and now by your Baptism in Him, death holds no power over you.  Jesus is the salt that preserves your life.  Because of sin we get sick and die, however, our hope is not in this life.  Since on Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead; these weak, mortal bodies are promised to be raised as a pure, eternal, spiritual body.  That means your life is truly preserved forever.  Our present or temporal death is not eternal death, and that good news adds sweetness and joy and purpose to our life now.  Because Christ Jesus has promised Christians that when they die, he or she will be with the Lord forever.  Sadly, there are people still living with no comfort when someone dies. 

Through His Word, Christ Jesus is sweetening and preserving your life.  He promises to heal you from eternal death and preserve you today and for eternity.  However, our saltiness becomes depleted, even lost, when we fail to hear God’s Word or receive His Sacraments.  Even though our lives are torn by sin, broken relationships, and faltering health, Jesus promises to preserve and keep you and to work all things for your good.  Therefore, we find comfort by dwelling on God’s promise of new and eternal life in Christ.  By His resurrection from the dead, Jesus sweetens all things with renewed hope and purpose making you the sweetening, wholesome, and preserving salt to all the world: Amen.

Grace Lutheran Church 

825 North 1st West

Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728

Sunday Service begins at 9:00AM