Light of the Body, the Eye Matthew 6
Posted by adventbiblestudy on June 18, 2010
KJV Matthew 6:22-23
22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
This simple parable uses the eye as a spiritual symbol. The first account uses the eye to symbolize light. The later uses the eye to symbolize darkness. It is a simple task to identify the information lying on the surface of this parable. Much greater understanding can be realized when the spiritual meaning of light and darkness is studied in depth by comparing scripture with scripture. This lesson will look at the spiritual meaning of the word eye, as an example to show how a greater understanding can be achieved through the study of a single word.
An eye is used to provide sight. Through light, eyes gather information by reading, observing and studying the surroundings. Eyes may be the most important sense used to gather knowledge and understanding. It is not unusual to hear the phrase, visual learner. Today our society relies on sight for transportation, work, play, education, marketing and entertainment.
KJV Genesis 21:19. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
KJV Genesis 22:13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
KJV Numbers 22:31. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
It is important to know, God has the ability to open the eyes of His followers and those who chose to follow their own ways. God created eyes and knows how to use them to their utmost ability.
KJV John 10:21. Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
Jesus asked the question, can a devil open the eyes of the blind? Depending on who you ask, you may get some interesting answers. There may be stories and fables claiming Satan or his agents to have restored physical sight. But Jesus was not debating physical sight. Jesus was referring to spiritual vision. His audience did not understand the parable He was explaining to them. That was one of the reasons Jesus came to this world, to reestablish spiritual understanding. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. KJV John 10:11.
The devil claims he has a way of spiritually opening the eyes of his followers, but the method of deception is much more subtle than that of opening physical eyes. Examples are given in his conversation with Eve in the garden, and again with Jesus in the wilderness, where it is shown how Satan changes the word of God, ever so slightly to suit his needs. The answer is no, the devil does not have the power to open the eyes of the blind.
KJV Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: 5. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
KJV Acts 26:18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
KJV Ephesians 1:18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eyes are spiritually opened only by the word of God. Frontlets are used to aid in guiding a horse, so they are not distracted by the images around them. Frontlets help keep the attention of a horse on the road ahead, just as the word of God keeps the eyes spiritually focused on the road to eternity. In a spiritual sense, when the eyes are not focused, vision becomes blurred, images may be mistaken and details missed.
KJV John 12:40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
KJV Acts 28:27
27. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
KJV 2 Peter 2:14
14. Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
KJV 1 John 2:11
11. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
To be spiritually blind is to be without understanding. People can see and hear the words, but the important lesson is, they cannot understand with their hearts. Ask ten people what it means to understand with your heart and most likely you will receive ten different answers. How do you know if any of the answers are correct, and which of the answers are misleading? How dangerous may those misleading answers be? The only safe course of action is to ask God, how to understand with your heart. Answers of this nature come from God’s word, the Bible.
KJV Exodus 36:1. Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded.
KJV 1 Kings 3:9. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
KJV 1 Kings 4:29. And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
Knowing that an understanding heart comes from God is only a small portion of the answer. To many preachers, this may be the only answer they will provide. They may not use any proof texts, but simply put the phrases into their own words, God give understanding to the heart. This is a true statement, but how much of a spiritual lesson does it teach?
Telling someone a carrot is a plant does nothing to teach them how to grow a carrot. As with many plants, proper preparation makes all the difference to guarantee a successful harvest. Experience will enable a person to teach another how to prepare the soil, plant the seeds with the proper spacing, when to plant, where to plant, how much sun and water is required, and when to harvest.
To fully understand how God provides a wise and understanding heart, we need to study His word.
KJV Jeremiah 3:15. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
KJV Proverbs 2:1. My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2. So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4. If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
KJV Colossians 2:1. For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
An understanding heart does not drop out of the sky like rain, it requires dedication, pursuit, hard work, and refinement. You can see this by the action words God used to describe an understanding heart. Feed, receive, hide, incline, apply, cry, and understand all require effort. When searching for an understanding heart, we are to receive God’s words. Receiving God’s word is a step in understanding, which is only achieved through a personal experience. Applying your heart to understanding is a personal invitation to seek after God and search for understanding. All of these actions are a vivid contrast from what most people experience in their lives.
KJV Psalms 49:3. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4. I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
KJV Matthew 13:13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15. For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
KJV Matthew 13:23. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
KJV Mark 4:11. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 13. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
God applies a standard test to an understanding heart. This test involves His parables. If people understand these parables, their actions show they have an understanding heart. But what about those who do not understand?
There are three levels of understanding a parable, the physical, moral and spiritual. Understanding the physical aspects of a parable is where most people feel comfortable because they feel this portion is open to personal interpretation and freedom of expression. It is to a degree. It is also the easiest to understand and requires the least amount of effort.
The moral segment of a parable is the next level. Every parable teaches a moral lesson. As we get deeper into the interpretation of the parable we need to exercise additional care in representing God’s word. Most religions have their own versions of parables and their own approved methods of interpretation.
The third and most advanced level used to interpret a parable is the spiritual level. The only parables interpreted on a spiritual level are those from God. No other religion has developed the means of interpreting parables on a spiritual level. This is what sets God’s parables apart from all other religions. This level of interpretation requires the greatest degree of reverence and respect for God’s word and can only be interpreted using God’s word.
If a person prefers to remain on a physical level of God’s word, they may be termed as part time Christians. They may also be Christians with a lack of proper training. In the worse case they may be Christians entrenched in truths they have learned early in their walk and have refused to move, or have convinced themselves, they possess all the truth available.
Christians on a higher level of understanding often apply parables to their lives through prayer and at times, meditation. They are on the right track because they recognize a need for change. They are often bewildered by this need to change and often spend a great deal of time searching for answers. They may not have realized where to look for answers, so they often look to others, whom they consider wiser than themselves. These questions often haunt and to a degree, control their lives. This class takes time to find the faith to fully rely upon God.
Those who study on a spiritual level have grown to realize God has the ability to provide His followers with infinite wisdom. They have learned not only how to ask God to reveal new information in His written word, but have mastered the art of challenging God. Their minds are in a constant state of prayer. This is not an inherited ability but one mastered over time. They have learned how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13). They have inquired and searched diligently (1 Peter 1:10), relying only on the word of God.
This journey begins by learning how to study. Often times, the student is amazed at the depth of understanding revealed by the spiritual meaning of one or two key words. The journey continues only when the proper time and effort is invested in learning at the feet of Jesus.
A regiment of study is often adopted and becomes a lifestyle. It may involve morning or evening prayer, followed by reading the Bible in a constructive manner, then followed by time spent in word studies. It is much like exercise, no pain, no gain. One of the first lessons a student may learn is, God created time. A large part of salvation is eternal life. Few people realize, this gift includes, unlimited time. Once this lesson is learned, all excuses fade away.
It takes time and dedication to learn to study on a spiritual level. There are hundreds and possibly thousands of key words with spiritual meanings in the Bible. Like our language, many of these words may have a number of definitions. This is a point which may confuse and frustrate many beginners. Those with more experience on the physical and moral levels of study will find this obstacle easier to over come, as long as every study begins with an open mind. A mind open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. If a single thought leading you to believe you already know the answer, enters your mind during a study, the entire study can become contaminated. It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. KJV Luke 13:20-21.
Those learning on a spiritual level exhibit an understanding heart by developing a need to teach others. This is recognized by their actions. They realize others are on different locations of the same path and have a desire to help elevate their spiritual experience, by teaching in a patient, loving manner.
The higher the degree of understanding God’s word, the higher the degree of an understanding heart, the closer your walk with Jesus will become.