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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


The Sermon on the Mount (Continues) – 20 October 2006
By Mary T. Hoffman

Matthew 5:13-16

13 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 [Greek: ανθρώπων which refers to “human beings” or “people”].

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men [Greek: ανθρώπων which refers to“human beings” or “people”], that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
~ King James Version

All the translations into English that I looked at, except for The Living Bible, use the word “men” to translate the Greek word “ανθρώπων.” The word “anthropology,” the study of human beings, is derived from “άνθρωπος.”

Matthew 5:13-15

13 “You are the world's seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavor, what will happen to the world? And you yourselves will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 You are the world's light-a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see.

15 Don't hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.”
~ The Living Bible

Some people think that Jesus uses the word “salt” here to refer to the “preservation” properties of salt; others think that He is referring to the “flavor.” Is He saying that His disciples should preserve the world from decay, or that they should be the world’s seasoning? Perhaps this passage means that His disciples are to stay involved in their spreading of the truth, enlightening others, and doing good works in this fallen world. That there is a special need for them in the world, and if they fall away and fail to fulfill their calling, they will become useless, or to quote the above passages: “good for nothing” or “worthless.”

This is further emphasized by the reference to “light”; the good deeds that are done for all to see are a testimony to God’s power and benevolence. Believers are to behave in a way that cannot cast doubt or, as it says in the Bible, cause unbelievers to “blaspheme,” as 2 Samuel 12:14 expresses it: to give “…occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme…” – or, in other words, to create a stumbling block by inappropriate behavior so that others remain alienated to the Lord.

In a nutshell, disciples are, as much as possible, to be like Christ; and even more so, according to John 14:12:

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
~ King James Version

Go on to: The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 21 October 2006
Return to: Leaf Peeping – 19 October 2006
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