“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this, but I have never really considered its meaning. Today I want to consider what it means. So, for the first step after prayer for finding out what it means is looking at its context. Matthew 6:19-24 says,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”
Now this context tells us then about what the eye looks, desires, and takes in. If our eye, or our vision is concerned with being as rich as Joe Greengrass or as famous as Jane Itgirl, then that is where our heart is going to be, that is what we will pursue. But if our vision is set on the Kingdom of Heaven, if our eyes are on Jesus then that is where our treasure is, then we will pursue Christ. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t pursue worldly riches and heavenly riches at the same time. But Jesus promised us that if we pursue heavenly riches in the Kingdom of God, all our needs would be taken care of. (Matthew 6:33). We do not have to serve money, our faith reminds us that God is our All Sufficient God.
The eye shows the world what it is we seek. What we care about, pursue, and desire reveals our heart, soul, and mind, which is lived out by our strength or actions. If we are genuinely seeking Christ’s glory and not our own, our eye, the lamp of the body reveals that we are full of light, the light of Jesus Christ, the Truth, and our Righteousness. Earlier in Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus talked about the right way to pray, to do good deeds, and fast. Matthew 6:1 is the thesis statement of these verses.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
Verse 4 says this about doing good deeds,
“so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Verse 6 says this about praying,
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Verse 18 tells us about fasting,
“that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
When we try and glorify ourselves, our eye is obscured with the desire for our own fame, popularity, and flesh. We make look good on the outside but only darkness will fill us up. When we pursue Christ and His righteousness, we don’t need to prove our goodness to the world, our eye shines, and we are filled with God’s glory. Our eye reveals our heart, it reveals Jesus.
People are watching us, they can tell if we sincere. They can tell if we are of the world or of something they do not understand. We can’t worry about making ourselves look good to them and at the same time walk righteously as Jesus told us to do. We are members of a long family line beginning with Abraham. Children of faith whose lives of faith glorified God and birthed us and each and every other believer. (Hebrews 11). What if Abraham had not believed God? What if Jacob had not obeyed God? What if Joseph had not kept His eye on The Lord? Their lives are testaments of faith and ours should also be. Our lives are testaments to something. Our focus tells the world who we are, the Light of the world or darkness indistinguishable from the world. The author of Hebrews says it this way in Hebrews 12:1-2,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Our eye is set on The Kingdom of Heaven and our eye is fixed on Jesus. Jesus entire focus was our salvation, our reconciliation to a relationship with God. His eye was fixed on our salvation so much that He considered it a joy to give up His perfect life for us. Our holy righteous Lord considered it a joy to become sin and suffer horrifically all so we could know Him.
The world cannot see Jesus, except through us. God surrounds them, Creation speaks to the truth, but they do not recognize Jesus. (Romans 1:19-23). We are the ones to shine, to glorify Christ and so show them The Way. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said,
“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.”
They will see your sincere Christ glorifying good works, not because you do them as an announcement of your goodness, but because as you do them in secret, God will reward them and the result of Christ’s goodness in you will bring people to Him.
Our eye, or our focus and our purpose is the lamp of the body. The only way that lamp is going to be lit so that it fills us with light is if it the lamp and light of Truth. We have to know what the focus is in order to maintain that focus. Psalm 119:105-108 reads,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.”
Believer, fix your eye on Jesus. Be the Light of the world. Protect your eye. Do not focus on Joe Greengrass, focus on The Kingdom of Heaven. Do not let the darkness obscure the Light. Glorify Jesus, you may be the only way a person will ever see Him.