Jesus fulfills the law by living it out within a framework of mercy, not sacrifice.


For the 5th Sunday of Epiphany, Lindsey and Adam read Matthew 5:13-20. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Yikes!

How did we go from blessings to the threat of being trampled so quickly?

Remembering that everything is grounded in the context of love for the most vulnerable, Lindsey and Adam wrestle with the text and glean good news from these difficult words.

We are the salt of the earth. We are made to give the world variety and flavor… and we are also made to preserve the world. Stewards of the earth. Caretakers of each other. We do not have to do anything to earn this honor or position. We are already made in God’s image.

How might we lose our saltiness? How might we lose sight of our vocation as God’s image-bearers?

Who throws us out? Who does the trampling?

And does following Jesus guarantee that we won’t be trampled? Just look what happened to him…

We are the light of the world. Does light glorify itself or shine on others? Is there anything we would rather keep hidden in the darkness? What risks come with living into our role as light?

How does Jesus regard the law and the Pharisees, teachers of the law? Adam and Lindsey explore ways to avoid an anti-Semitic reading of this text. Not all Pharisees are the same, and Jesus is critiquing a method of interpretation and exposing its consequences, not condemning a group of people. Jesus fulfills the law by living it out within a framework of mercy, not sacrifice. If we use the law to condemn anyone, we turn it from an instrument of grace into an instrument of death.

The Olive

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