Mark 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its saltiness, how can you make it salty? Have salt among yourselves and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50
I heard a comedian once say, “I bought some powdered water…I don’t know what to add.” Perhaps, similar logic could be used to explain the uselessness of salt-less salt!
Theologians have tried to explain this passage from several different angles. First, in the days of Yeshua, salt was a valuable commodity. Soldiers were partly paid in salt. The word “soldier” comes from the Latin term “sal dare” meaning to give salt. Our word “salary” comes from the similar Latin word “salarium”, meaning to get salt. “Fire” is obviously speaking of a trial, or difficult season.
Taking this approach, Yeshua could have been saying that our worth will be determined, (or at least evaluated) by how well we endure suffering. That is, the trials we face should bring us to an understanding of the value of our faith.
Furthermore, if the trial exposes that we are unfaithful, then what good is our religion (outward expression), if founded on such weak faith? In such a case, corrupted religion must be scrapped & hauled-away, with true religion establishing the proper faithful foundation.
Continuing with that line of thought, Yeshua would be directing His disciples to have peace with one another, by seeing each individual’s value to the kingdom, as a soldier “worth his salt” has value to the Roman Empire.
Another approach to “saltiness” is the fact that Temple sacrifices had to be seasoned with salt, as a sign of the permanence of G_d’s covenant.
“You are to season each of your grain offerings with salt; you must not omit from your grain offering the salt of the covenant with your G_d.” Leviticus 2:13
“Therefore brothers, by the mercies of G_d, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to G_d; this is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
In this case, Yeshua would be saying that the trials we endure act as a preservative reminder of G_d’s covenant, with us, through Messiah. Trials make us cry-out to Him. When He responds faithfully, our faith is strengthened. If our flesh compels us to rebel against Him because of trials, we would be better to abandon our flesh, than our faith. Additionally, the strength of a healthy Messianic community is that it holds us accountable, and encourages our relationship with the L_rd.
What is obvious: The Messianic life is not absent of conflict; rather, it is the presence of Peace in the midst of conflict which should distinguish us as belonging to Yeshua.
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Sunday, May 24, 2013