“The eye is the lamp of the body,” Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount. “If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Jesus employs two familiar symbols for his audience in this teaching: eyes and light.

In the ancient Jewish world, a person’s eyes were considered “windows” through which truth filled the mind and body. “The figure,” notes one theologian “is that of the one-room Palestinian house.” If the window to the house was clean and well-maintained, sunlight could fill the whole house with warmth and light and possibility.

Furthermore, light was (and still is) a common metaphor for God’s truth, God’ presence, and the subsequent blessings of experiencing God firsthand. (See Psalm 119:05, Isaiah 60:19, 1 John 1:5, Revelation 21:23-24). So the idea was to keep one’s spiritual “eyes” in good condition to receive and understand God’s light of truth in a life.

It’s important to note that Christ’s symbolic promise here, made in the context of the pursuit of treasure (see Matthew 6:19-24), is not a guarantee of external comfort or success. Rather, it’s an internal pledge of God’s presence, truth, and blessing within each of us—in both harsh and helpful circumstances.

Thus, Christ’s promise is essentially this: If your spiritual “eye” is in good shape (that is, if your heart and mind are focused on the pursuit of his treasures of heaven), then the light of God’s presence and truth will fill your soul with health and understanding and strength to face any and all situations in your life.

 

Works Cited:

[IB7, 318; DBI, 510-511]

 

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