The Eye (Matthew 6:22, 23)

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2007-12-12 12:33.

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Without sight, one’s world becomes a world of darkness. The eye functions like a lamp for the body, making it possible to perceive everything that light makes visible. (Matthew 6:22) When, however, the eye does not focus properly, images are distorted, and whatever is perceived by means of the eye cannot be trusted. The manner in which one views matters is a reflection of one’s inner moral and spiritual condition.

When the eye is “simple,” sound, or properly focused, it serves as a dependable lamp for the body. The Greek word for “simple” (haploús) can, in a moral sense, also signify “sincere,” “straightforward,” “guileless,” and “generous.” Rightly focused on the realm belonging to eternity and not on transitory material assets, the “eye” makes the whole body bright, engendering a compassionate and loving concern for others and a desire to live a godly life.

Whenever the focus is on nothing nobler than material possessions or, even worse, directed by debased or impure motives and desires, the whole body or the whole being of a person exists in a state of deep darkness. It is then that the eye is bad or sick, functioning contrary to its purpose as a provider of light for the body. With the faculty of conscience not supplying light or clear direction, the individual’s state of darkness is indeed great. The very faculty that should be the source of light would then prove to be darkness, and, as Jesus said, “How great that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:23)


In Luke 11:34-36, the basic teaching about the “eye” is repeated. The occasion, however, is not the same.