Matthew 5:13-20 Sunday School Lesson on Salt and Light for Kids

Light it up, and Add Some Salt! Sunday School Lesson on Making a Difference for Jesus

What do light and salt have in common? Both can make quite a difference in things, and are very much missed when not present. In addition to that, Jesus used them to describe our Christian lives! We are called to light the world with the hope of Jesus, and to be “salt”, making a difference in the lives of others. This lesson describes how light and salt impact things, and how we can influence others with God’s love.

We want to encourage students to be “salt and light”, making a difference in the lives of those around them. Yet the way they can make that impact comes first from recognizing how much Jesus changes us. He is the light that guides our way, and it’s because of His light that we can shine for others. He is the “salt” in our lives, flavoring and preserving us to great things for His kingdom. As you encourage young students, be sure to emphasize the blessings we have been given in Christ!

Passage: Matthew 5:13-20  

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade

Materials Needed: Construction paper; salt; salt shakers; glue; markers or crayons; food coloring; cups; tea lights; salted snacks; flashlights or headlamps; tape; scissors; decorative supplies; Bibles.

For more teaching material for your Matthew 5:13-20 Sunday School Lesson – see the Bible craft ideas and Salt & Light Children’s Sermon.

Lesson Opening: There are a few important themes going through this passage. Jesus reminds us of the importance to shine His light with others, making a difference in the world for His sake. He also reveals that His task as Messiah was not to eliminate rules and laws, but to fulfill them for our sake and for the Lord. The “salty” element comes into play in this Gospel message, as well. So have fun and choose how you’d like to kick things off! Some possible ideas include:

  • Salt it up relay: split the group into two lines. Provide each team with a shaker of salt. Invite students to spread out their lines, and pass the salt from one person to another, stretching to reach the next person in line if necessary. If the salt shaker is not too full, have students at the end of the line shake some of the salt out before running it back to the front of the line. Continue until the salt shaker is empty. *Alternate water game method: if you need a fun water game, fill the shaker with water, and take turns running the relay until the team reaches a point on a “fill line” of a cup.
  • Which rules do we follow? Discuss what kinds of laws, rules, and regulations govern our daily lives. Why is it important to have and follow rules? Are there ever times when we should not follow rules? Did Jesus follow the rules, or rebel against them?
  • Flashlight tag: If your learning area can get sufficiently dark, play “flashlight tag” or shine a flashlight beam on certain items one at a time in “I Spy” fashion.
  • Lighting the way…have a fashion show of sorts with glow stick items. See who can make the longest chain, most decorative necklace, or best overall “outfit” using glow sticks or glow jewelry. Again, this could work better in a dark setting, but can still be done with light!
  • Whose line is this? Split the group into two teams, and give each team a name (something simple like apples and oranges, or something more complex to match the theme, like salt and pepper, light and dark, or disciples and leaders). Have students line up a few feet apart, with backs facing each other. Shout one team name. Students on that team will turn around and chase the other line to a designated area on the field, several yards back from the start line. If a team member is tagged, they will join the other team. Play until all people are on one team, or timing forces a “stalemate.” 
  • Salt is important! Have students sample a tiny pinch of salt or sugar, to see how different they are. You can also allow them to taste crackers or products with and without salt, to note the difference.
  • “Let it shine”…sing or recall the words of the classic song “This Little Light of Mine.”

Explain to students that today’s lesson includes instructions for us to make a difference for Jesus. We are called to be His light shining in the darkness, and to be “salt” among other people. What could this mean?

Bible Lesson: Salt and Light

This passage involves some ideas that could be a little tough to understand, as they include metaphoric imagery. But the verses also involve important concepts and fun pictures to study and act out. You might have students take turns reading these verses, or read them out loud and pause to explain what is being said.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. -Matthew 5:13

Can salt lose its saltiness? This might sound like a strange idea, but invite students to think about salt. Salt is important for changing things. It can impact how things taste and how things are. Salt makes a difference! Explain that here Jesus is calling us as Christians the salt of the earth. He wants us to know that we can make a difference. Salt alters the entire flavor of something, and we can change how things are by impacting people for Jesus. He wants us to always influence things for His sake, because He “salts” us!

Ask: What does salt do? What do you think Jesus means when He calls us “salt”?  

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16

Light is essential to so many things. We need it to see where we are going or guide our way in dark places. It drives away darkness and shows up brightly for all to see. In these verses, Jesus invites us to be the light of the world. He wants us to “shine” so that others can see something is different about us. We want to display the light of Christ. We are not just doing good deeds to be recognized. We are doing things that reflect how much God loves us and how we love Him. When others see this, they should want to follow Jesus, too!

Ask: How can we be the light of Jesus? How can we share His love with others?

Some people worried that Jesus came to defy the political leaders of the day. They thought He was going against the law, defying and refusing to obey. But Jesus wanted everyone to know why He came. He was not trying to destroy the law, but He lived it perfectly for us. We can never successfully follow all of the rules. We sin and deserve death. But because of Jesus and His perfect life, we can have grace!

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes 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. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 5:17-20

Jesus wanted to accomplish the Law. That meant He wanted to do all that we cannot do. He knew that there was no way we could keep all of the rules and earn our own salvation. He lived a perfect life to cover our sins. We cannot exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, but we are able to be justified by His righteousness.

Ask: Why do we need Jesus to save us?

Jesus is our “salt and light.” He shines the way in our darkness and He did all that we cannot. He lived for us and loves us, and He wants us to live for Him and for others. Jesus calls us to shine in the darkness and tell others about Him. We rely on Him for salvation, and out of gratitude for His love, we continue to “pass the salt” and light the way for others!

Close with prayer, asking God to help us be His light and salt to make a difference in the world around us.

2 thoughts on “Matthew 5:13-20 Sunday School Lesson on Salt and Light for Kids”

Leave a Comment