Salt is a mineral, not a spice. True salt will always be salt. Things can taste salty from their proximity to salt but that doesn’t make them salt. Salt remains salt without compromise. If salt lost its flavor, it wasn’t salt in the first place and never had any eternal value as salt.
Jesus concludes His challenge of the crowd that follows Him in Luke 14 with a metaphor of salt and it’s saltness. He says that salt without its flavor is worthless. It’s no longer of any value as salt or as manure.
This isn’t the Jesus that we often picture with a lamb around his shoulders. He’s calling out kings and the position of royalty He is offering has great worth, but cannot be obtained from the middle ground of compromise. You’re either royalty or you’re not. There are no common kings.
What was the result? A church split? A deacon’s meeting calling for His resignation? A reduction in tithes that resulted in financial difficulties? Nope. The result was attraction.
At the end of Luke 14 He says “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” and those that apparently had ears were “tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 15 says that the result was that “tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.”
That doesn’t mean that everybody was happy with His message, however. Luke 15:2 says, “And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’” The religious folks were mad. They had made a career out of getting people to act right and follow the rules now Jesus was turning the whole thing upside down. This wasn’t going to be about safe, comfortable religion and “good church” anymore. This was dangerous love.
- Broken, desperate people respond to a message of dangerous love
- They don’t want polluted salt, they want salty salt
- They draw closer to Jesus when they have to choose all or nothing
- Religious people are neither broken nor desperate
- They want to be entertained and served via programs and presentations
- The challenge might very well cause them to grumble
People that are hanging out in the comfortable confines of religion are in dire straits but they don’t know it. Because they are in church and generally acting right, they think they are OK. According to Jesus, however, if they aren’t answering “yes” to the call to death, then they won’t complete what they started and they will compromise at even the threat of a battle from an inferior enemy. To “pastor” them in a way that reinforces the false positive is malpractice.
Jesus is attractive to desperate, broken people and they will come from “out there” to “in here” if we make it clear that “in here” is drastically different than “out there.” It’s upside down and backwards, but the attraction is in the repulsion that is assumed to be in a call to death. Go figure.