{11}    Saltless salt [Mk 9:50]

Mk 9:50
Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.


·         How can salt lose its saltiness?

·         What is the meaning of “have salt in yourselves”?


·         to the disciples

·         parallel found in Lk 14:34 (cost of being a disciple) and in Mt 5:13 (Sermon on the Mount)


·         In Galilean life, “salt” was rarely found in pure state but mixed with various forms of earth. It can serve the purpose of true salt so long as the proportion of salt in the mixture was sufficiently high. If not, it can be described as saltless.

·         Salt is for cleansing, for preserving food from decay, and for providing flavours to food and vitality to the body.

·         “Saltless salt”: “fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill” (Lk 14:35) and “no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men” (Mt 5:13) — totally useless and worthless.

·         In the words of rabbis, salt is referred to Israel’s role as the purifying agency among the nations of mankind.

·         Jesus tells the disciples to be the salt of the earth: preserving and purifying effect on the fellow men, adding zest to the life of the community, acting as force for peace and living examples demonstrating the power and grace of God. (John Stott calls the true Christianity as “Christian counterculture”.

·         In “covenant of salt”, salt was required in sacrifice or offerings to God (2Ch 13:5; Lev 2:13; Eze 43:24; Ex 30:35).


·         Quality of saltiness manifested in one’s language (Col 4:6).

·         Salt is also sometimes referred to the Christian wit or wisdom.

·         Christian should beware of his role on earth and be an acceptable sacrifice to God. One way to be salt of the earth is to slow down moral deterioration of the world through social action.


{12}    You are Peter [Mt 16:18-19]

Mt 16:18-19
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.


·         What are the meanings of the various figures of speech?

·         Peter is too unstable a character, why would he serve as the foundation of God’s church?

·         Can this be used to justify the position of the pope in the Roman Catholic church?


·         in a neighbourhood of Caesarea Philippi

·         found in 3 synoptic gospels

·         Peter’s confession to Jesus as the Messiah indicates a change had begun to take place in his thinking — that he was now coming to understand the term “Messiah” in the light of what Jesus actually was and did, rather than to understand Jesus in light of ideas traditionally associated with the name “Messiah”.


·            Peter: petros (Greek), kepha (Aramaic)

·         Rock: petra (Greek), kepha (Aramaic)

·         the form “kepha”, as applied to Peter, appears in many NT versions as Cephas (e.g. Jn 1:42; 1Co 1:12)

·         Hebrew equivalent of rock is keph and is used in Job 30:6 and Jer 4:29.

·         It is not Peter for what he is in himself but Peter the confessor of Jesus who provides the foundation, and it is not the stature of the confessor but the truth of the confession that is important.

·         Where Jesus is confessed as Messiah or as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, there His Church (universal Church) exists.

·         “Gates of Hades” — powers of death, i.e., all forces opposed to Christ and His Kingdom.

·         “Keys of the Kingdom” — given to the Church but entrusted to a person (Peter) as a badge of the authority (Isa 22:22; Ac 2:14-41).

·         “Binding” and “loosing” — idiomatic expressions in rabbinical Judaism to denote the rulings forbidding or authorizing various kinds of authority. (Mt 18:18; Ac 5:1-11; 1Co 5:3-5).

·         “The keys of the Kingdom” and the power of “binding” and “loosing” was exercised in the primitive church in preaching, discipline and legislation; and Peter is only a representative to carry out the divine power in early church.