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Salt, Light, a City Set on a Hill

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), Jesus teaches that His followers are the “salt of the earth;” “the light of the world;” and “a city set on a hill.” For the past several months, I have pondered what Jesus means.


Salt of the earth

When we season food with salt, the salt is invisible (I hope). Yet, invisible salt makes a noticeable difference in a dish. Similarly, as salt of the earth, Jesus’ followers influence and inspire the world, even when our presence is not visible. What difference are we making in the world?


Light of the world

How are you showing the light of hope in Christ?

Christ’s followers are called to bear witness with full confession of faith. We show forth, not our own light, but the light of Christ with no shame. The light we have shows the world the Way, the Truth and the Life – Jesus! How are we showing the light of hope in Christ?


City set on a hill

Jesus calls the community of faith; the universal Church; the Body of Christ to be a model city. When we truly rise to the call of Christ, we become a model city before the watching world – a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.

The local congregation is called to be a city set on a hill – a city within the city wherein we are called.

Wow, are we really being a model city? Or, are we patterning after the city?

I am deeply moved by the Sermon on the Mount. I deeply desire to participate in what it means to be salt, light and a full participant of the city on a hill, as Jesus teaches. 

Image: Atharva Lele

Image: Gabriel Barletta

In a world where darkness encroaches, Christ calls us to bear witness in a very public way – unseen and seen.

The world desperately needs salt, light, and a city set on a hill. Jesus is calling for us to bear witness in this way.

Come Holy Spirit. Help us!


Dr. A

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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2017

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, TX, and the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color (IVP, 2020), The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Scripture and Theology (2019), Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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