Monday, June 27, 2011
The Eye Is The Light of the Body – SOTM # 17
Jesus healed many blind persons in his three years of ministry on earth. Those miracles of healing undoubtedly served various purposes: defeating the work of Satan, bearing testimony to Jesus Messiahship, extending mercy to the suffering. But they also were an indication of his desire to open the spiritual eyes of those blinded by the lies of Satan and the deadening influences of the kingdom of this world.
Jesus was not a scientist. The pre-existent Son of God gave up his omniscience and came into human history as the son of man, required to learn and know what other men of his time learned and knew. The world he saw through human eyes was the same as that which his disciples saw. What he learned, beyond the knowledge and wisdom of his contemporaries, came as a result of his attention to the world around him, his mastery of Scripture, and his keen ear attuned to his heavenly Father. He availed himself of spiritual insights, available to, but seldom accessed by, other men and women of his time.
The illustrations and analogies he used to drive home his teaching were those that were the currency of that time. When he spoke of the eye as the source of light for the body he was drawing upon a common assumption about the way eyes function. We have a different understanding today, knowing what biological and anatomical studies have shown us. But the analogy of the eye as a source of light for our body still works today. Jesus said:
The eye is the light of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Jesus surely knew that the eyes were not the only source of “light” for the body. He knew, as well, that the “body” of which he spoke represented man’s consciousness. All the senses contribute information that enlightens the mind, and the mind, in turn, instructs the senses, training them to seek, and apprehend, and value certain inputs and reject others. It is the mind (sometimes called the heart, by Jesus,) that determines if the “eye” is good or bad; whether it serves to bringing light or darkness into person’s life..
All of our senses can be damaged, plunging us into a “darkness” that deprives us of the sights, sounds, touches, tastes, and odors available to us. But Jesus was not talking about physical impairment, though the incidence of blindness in that day was great enough that his audience would immediately connect with his illustration. It was a dulling of all the spiritual senses that Jesus was speaking about. Inordinate desire for sensual gratification of any kind can eventually deaden our sensitivity to, and hunger for the good things of God’s creation.
The eyes and ears, more than the other physical senses, are most informative about the world in which we live. Much of what we take in through those sources comes pre-loaded with meaning, requiring little processing before it affects our thoughts and actions.
Jesus chose to describe the eye as the source of light for the body, allowing it to stand in for all the senses that inform us, physical or spiritual. If the eye – a.k.a. the senses – is trained to admit good things for our consideration, our whole being will benefit and, to use Jesus’ words, be filled with light. But if the eye is corrupted; if it reinforces the darkness that is latent in all humankind – pride, lust, greed, selfishness – the darkness in us will only deepen, making it less and less likely that we will ever be drawn to the kingdom of light to which God calls us.
All of our senses require training, and there are two tutors standing ready to offer us their services. The most popular tutor requires the least up-front investment, in fact advertizes that his services cost nothing, but his record is abysmal; all of his clients, without exception, have ended blind. Only with the services of the second tutor have any of them managed to reclaim their sight. Sadly, few of those blinded, seek restoration. The majority, believing they are not blind at all, but rather filled with light, continue to take in the darkness they have come to depend upon.
The second tutor requires a payment, up-front, of all that you have, and all that you are. But he will tune your “eyes” – if you let him – so finely that you will be able to sense and participate in every legitimate joy available to man, here on this earth, and through all eternity. Jesus is his name. He is the one who said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”