Chapter 7, “The Visible Community”
Bonhoeffer continues with a look at Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus describes his disciples as salt, light, and a city on a hill. as salt, the disciples are of immense value, giving the world something it needs to survive. Bonhoeffer observes (Loc. 1628) that Jesus in effect gives his work to his disciples. The disciples reach out to the whole world, while Jesus’ work is with Israel. He further affirms that Jesus does not use an imperative but an indicative. The disciples are the salt. This is their identity. Likewise, the disciples are light, that which can be seen. they do not try to become light, but they let the light shine. We do not try to become a secretive community or hide our good works. We merely live those works out in our community. It is these good works that draw attention. People do not so much notice us but they notice the good works. People do not even see God (Loc. 1680) through the good works, but when they see our good works they praise God. God, then, is the great author of our works, bringing glory to himself.