Matthew 6:22-23: Keep your Eyes on Jesus
November 7th, 2021

Jesus is drawing the disciples’ attention to the fact that there is more to life than the accumulation of riches and understand the eternal perspective; as Colossians 3:2 says, to “set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” 

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body;

so then, if your eye is clear,

The original Greek here is Haplous which basically means single, unadulterated, pure, (literally, without folds), unmixed or unbraided or unknitted together with something else.  Whole, perfect, of one cloth.

It is possible suffer from a kind of spiritual astigmatism, leaving our spiritual vision unfocused.  Jesus urges us to have a “single” eye, an eye that does not see blurred images, an eye that sees through the folly of laying up treasure on earth and keeps the next world in proper focus.

Jesus is talking about what we choose to have our attention and focus on.  Haplous, as it’s used here, talks about being of single-minded purpose in our motivations; open and aboveboard; a straight-shooter, without guile, sincere and straightforward (without a hidden agenda).  It’s not a common thing to find.  See when Jesus first met Nathanael (John 1:47-50).  Being pure and without deceit  allows us to recognize the truth–a life single-mindedly focused on truth and purity is what is needed for discernment.  Single-mindedness means devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, not just having devotional time, but being devoted, passionate, focused, burning, in love with Jesus–having eyes for Jesus Christ alone. That’s what God wants from us. 

your whole body will be full of light.

The eyes are like windows letting light into our perception, into the body.  If the eye is properly focused on the light, the body can function properly in moving through the world. But if the eye is out of focus and seeing double, it results in unsteady movements. It is difficult to make progress while trying to look in two directions at the same time.  A single-focus results in purity, and as Jesus said in Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

But, remember also that the eyes are not only about the light that comes into them, but the way that we perceive the world around us.  Our world-view. 

A heart supposedly set upon heaven but held in bondage to earth is like an eye blinded by the intrusion of a foreign object, resulting in darkness (see Matthew 7:3-5).

23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.

When eye is corrupt, it causes pain and is a problem for the whole body.  Be careful what we put before our eyes, and allow ourselves to focus on.  Riches are a false light, like chasing fireflies out in the darkness—you find that what you have is dim and temporary.  The flickering glow of the firefly is caused by a chemical reaction; two compounds, luciferase and luciferin, produce the firefly’s light. Both terms are related to the word lucifer, which means “light-bearing.” And of course Lucifer is also one of the names for Satan.  Now consider the sun’s light. Its brilliance is blinding. In comparison to the sun, the firefly’s light is darkness, but if fireflies are the only light you’re willing to see, it’s going to look attractive to you.  If we focus on spiritual things, we will be full of light. But if we focus on earthly things, we will be filled with what He describes as great darkness.

So if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

The motive is the eye of the soul, and if the eye is clear then the whole character will be right; but if the motive is corrupt or polluted, then through that motive, our whole being will become defiled. If a person starts out with the wrong view of the world, then he is not going to be able to discern between evil and good, and may think that he is living right.  He may do right in his own eyes, and not see that what he is doing will lead to his destruction. A person can live up to “being a good person” in their own eyes, and yet still have a life-course marked by causing pain and destruction for himself and others.  All because he didn’t see with true sight.  Some people edit the Bible and make it say what they want it to say, and twist it to be good in their own eyes.  And if they follow that path, then how great is the darkness, how self-centered is their zeal, how delusional is their hope.

The good eye belongs to the person whose motives are pure, who has a single desire for God’s interests, and who is willing to accept Jesus’ teachings wholeheartedly, and completely. His whole life is flooded with light. He believes Jesus’ words, he forsakes earthly riches, he lays up treasures in heaven, and he knows that this is the only true security. On the other hand, the bad eye belongs to the person who is trying to live for two worlds. He doesn’t want to let go of his earthly treasures, yet he wants treasures in heaven too. He has a “divided heart”.  The teachings of Jesus seem impractical and impossible to him. He lacks clear guidance since he is full of darkness.”  Jesus counsels us to put our faith in God, not in things of this world, and to do it wholeheartedly;  to trust and rely on the wisdom of God, not on our own understanding.  As James 1:5-8 tells us.  5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.  It’s no way to live.  We need to approach God with singlemindedness.  Or as James tells us in chapter 4 verse 8 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Allow God to get your priorities straight, and focus on Him, and what HE wants to do with your life single-mindedly, so that all of you can be filled with the light of His glory.  As Hebrews 12:1b-2a let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith,