The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
The discarded salt

Scripture: Luke 14:34-35

34 "Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? 35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill; men throw it away.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Meditation: Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt, to convey extraordinary truths. What can salt teach us about the kingdom or reign of God? Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose in hot climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave food flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Salt was used as a symbol of fellowship and the common meal.  The near-Eastern expression to betray the salt meant to betray one's Master or some person who was owed loyalty and devotion.  Leonardo da Vinci in his painting of the Last Supper depicts Judas in the act of tipping over the salt shaker, thus symbolically indentifying himself as the betrayer of his Master.  Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world. As salt purifies, preserves, and penetrates, so the disciple must be as salt in the world of human society to purify, preserve, and penetrate that society for the kingdom of God and of his righteousness and peace. Why did Jesus speak of discarded salt as being useless?  Salt was often put in ovens to intensify the heat.  When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the road or on the roof top where it would easily get trodden upon. Perhaps Jesus wanted to contrast useful salt used for giving flavor and for preserving food with salt which was burned and no longer of much benefit, to encourage his disciples to be faithful witnesses and to not neglect the opportunity to influence others for the kingdom of God through the witness of their lives and their testimony to the power of the kingdom of God.

"Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may radiate the joy of the gospel to others.  May your light and truth shine through me that others may find new life and freedom from sin and the corruption of evil."

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 (c) 1999 Don Schwager