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.