There are many parables and challenging sayings in today’s two chapters in Luke. Take for example the three words, “Salt is good” (14:34). This reminds us of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5:13) where Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” to illustrate the role his genuine followers were to have – to talk and live and act so as to become a good influence on those around them. How successful are we in doing that?
In the passage in Luke, Jesus then adds, “but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away”. So if we do not have an influence, adding a beneficial flavour to the lives of those around us, how can we expect to have a place in God’s kingdom and serve Him as the world learns righteousness? (see Isaiah 26:9).
How many people would Jesus regard as salt? In Luke 13 we saw the response when someone asked Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” (verse 23). This question prompted a parable about “the narrow door” and how vital it is to “strive to enter” through it. The Master bluntly says, “For many I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able”. He then adds many will “begin to stand outside and to knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer them, ‘I do not know where you come from’” (verse 25).
Jesus was aware of Noah and the lesson of the ark when “the LORD shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). Noah did not close the door! We can imagine the scene as the rain poured down and the floods grew – what would be the mood among the scoffers then! Jesus’ parable continues – those knocking at the door will say to him, “We ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets” (verse 26). Some later generations may well say, ‘we practiced our religion sometimes’. But he will say, “I do not know where you come from” – he cannot see any “salt” in them!
Let us make sure we are good salt!