13Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
These questions are designed to help discover the message of Scripture. They are not designed to overwhelm, but to enlighten. Do not feel as if you need to answer all – or even most – of these questions. Perhaps pick one or two that will help you explore the Scripture and its message more deeply.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passage teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (sometimes in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Use these questions/conversation starters to explore the Scripture a little more deeply with your kids, spouse, or friends during the week! These prompts will be specific to each week’s Scripture passage.
When have you done something to bring glory to God?
What do you think Jesus means when he talks about the “kingdom of heaven”?
I let the light of God shine when I…
Image Meditation: Look at the image above. I took this image a couple weeks ago in the Holy Land. This is the city of Nazareth, but there are many more like it in the Holy Land. It is a city built on a hill. There are many hills over there – some are still undeveloped, but many are the home of cities just like Nazareth. The most important cities were built on hills, like Jerusalem. A city on a hill is safe, but it is also overwhelmingly beautiful, especially at night. As we were driving into Tiberias from the Tel Aviv airport, after the sun had already set, we saw several of these towns, shining brightly with their electric lights. Now, of course, these cities did not have electric lights in Jesus’s time, but I am sure the fires and torches of the city burned brightly then. This is the image of what Jesus desires us to be – a beautiful beacon of safety and hope in the middle of the darkness of the world. Imagine yourself as one of these strong, safe, beautiful, and bright cities. What fires has God lighted in you that burn as a witness to divine goodness and glory? How might your life project a message of hope in Christ? Who might see your life and be inspired?
Breath Prayer: LORD God, make us bright and salty for your glory!