The Salt and Light of the World

The Salt and the Light of the World is a phrase Jesus Christ (Yeshua Hamashiach) used to describe himself and his disciples in the New Testament (B’rit Chadashah).

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 ESV)

Jesus again claims to be Light of the World in the Gospel of John during the miracle of healing the blind at birth.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(John 9:5 ESV)

This episode leads into another passage of Scripture from the Gospel of John where Jesus metaphorically explains that he came to this world, so that the blind may see.

Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
(John 9:39 ESV)

In the Christological context, the use of the title Light of the World is similar to the Bread of Life title in the Gospel of John. These assertions build on the Christological themes in the Gospel of John where Jesus claims to possess life just as the Father does and provide it to those who follow him. The term “Life of the World” is applied in the same sense by Jesus to himself.

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
(John 5:26 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35 ESV)

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
(John 6:51 ESV)

This application of “light compared with darkness” also appears in the First Epistle of John which applies it to God and states:“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
(1 John 1:5 ESV)

Jesus also used that term to refer to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)

In the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas (Gnostic) a similar phrase appears:

There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness.

Walking on Water

Chassidic discourse teaches that the Spirit of Messiah is more exalted than that of Moses. Whereas Moses is depicted being drawn out from the water and dividing the sea, walking through the water, Messiah is depicted above the water. In the beginning of Genesis it says, “and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.” The Sages teach, “This is the Spirit of Messiah.” In the gospels, Messiah walks over the surface of the water.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
(Matthew 14:22-33 ESV)

Fishers of Men

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-18 ESV)

How often God chooses the most improbable people to move forward his purposes. A cowardly Jonah fled from God’s commission to preach to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:1-3). Israel’s great King David committed adultery and eventually murdered the husband of the woman he committed adultery with (2 Samuel 11:2-5). God does not call theose who are worthy (I myself am that example personified), He chooses those that He calls to serve Him.

Yeshua called His disciples to be “fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-18). Where does this metaphor come from? Again, we must look to the Tanakh, as the Tanakh and and Brit Chadashah almost always have shadows of each other to proclaim that which has been or that which will be.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “”Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the LORD, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. But first I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations” ( Jeremiah ESV).

Therefore,  it is through the apostles that Yeshua the Messiah, the seed of David and the only begotten Son of God, will restore Israel. They are the “fishers” spoken of by Jeremiah. However, the disciples primary purpose is not to lead people back to the land, but leading people to Messiah. In Him, God’s promises of restoration will be fulfilled.