Three Important Roles of Christ’s Disciples

(Matthew 5:13-20)

By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.

Eagle Rock Lutheran Church

Los Angeles, CA

February 09, 2014


In a river or let say swimming pool, when somebody throws a stone in the middle of the water, how do we know that there’s stone threw in the water? Yes, when the middle or vortex in the ripple is seen.

How do you know that our musicians are here in our church? Simply because we hear them either singing, or playing their instruments.

In our passage, Jesus told us the three important roles of a disciple to know that we are a Christian: as salt of the earth, as light of the world, and as fulfiller of the

1. The Disciples as Salt of the Earth (5:13, KJV). We know that salt is used for seasoning our food (Job 6:6) and preservative. In the Old Testament, salt was used in meat offerings (Lev. 2:13).  Salt was used in a covenant of perpetual obligation (Num.18:19; II Chro.13:5). New-born children were rubbed with salt (Ezek.16:4). So when Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth”–it means that the disciples should be served as seasoning and preservative in a decaying community.

Let me ask you all, when you are discussing politics, education, finance, money, problems, currents events, romance, gossips, etc. do you flavor them with the salt of Christian wisdom? Do your friends notice that you are a disciple of Christ when you talk with them?

2. The Disciples as Light of the World (5:14-16). The idea of this is similar with the “salt of the earth,” but the difference here is that the disciples do not need to talk to show their light. By being present there in darkness, Christ’s light is revealed.

The only thing that we need to do is to place the light in the center of darkness. Putting ourselves in the center of darkness may mean the depletion of our light, and the melting of our being. Jesus died for showing us the light. John the Baptist was beheaded by telling the truth. Jesus says, “That man John was a lamp that burns and brightly shines, and for a while you were willing to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35).

Have you heard what happened to some Christians when they shared their light? Pastor Martin Luther King was a leader of civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s who was assassinated for his belief in the issue. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hung by the Nazi due to his belief that a Christian should do something to eliminate cruelty in Germany.

Pastor Samuel Lamb (not real name) was in jail in China for more than 20 years due to his belief in Jesus Christ.Light-of-the-World_1433

3. The Disciples as Fulfillers of the Law (5:17-20). W. G. Barrett explains that (a) Jesus Christ fulfilled the law in His teaching when he completed it. (b) Christ fulfilled the law by His own personal, unbroken obedience. (c) Christ fulfilled the law by His sufferings and death.

We as disciples of Jesus Christ who live in this modern time have many laws, rules and policies. In our community, government, streets, schools, family, neighborhoods, etc. how do we fulfill them? Are we involved in red tape just to hasten our cause or business? Do we follow the rule that recyclable materials must be put to Blue or Green bins, and not to Brown or Black bins? We should drive if we have driver’s license, insurance and car registration. Right? Disciples must be fulfillers of the law, and not breakers of the law.


How do you feel being free to exercise our faith and being Lutheran believers nowadays?

Do you know that long time ago, being a Lutheran would mean death to believers?

Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes were the first two Lutheran martyrs persecuted and executed by the Roman Catholic Church for their adherence to Reformation doctrine. They were burned at the stake in Brussels on July 01, 1523.


In 1522 all Augustinian monks of St. Augustine’s monastery publicly professed Lutheran doctrine, but Bishop Cambrai had them arrested and imprisoned. When the monks found out that they risked being burned alive if they did not recant, all except three—Esch and Voes and Lampertus Thorn—recanted. The monks who recanted were released, but were not allowed to return to the monastery, and was declared defiled and soon demolished.

Many attempts were made by the Catholic inquisitors, but they did not recant so they were brought to secular court and sentence to death.  Thorn asked for an additional four-day period to study the scriptures with respect to his views, and thus he was not executed then with Esch and Voes. However, Thorn was also died in that year. (

If we are going to face that kind of challenge of our faith. Do you think God will find us still faithful as salt of the earth, light of the world, and fulfillers of the law? So help us God.

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