By Robert Halsey Pine
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-23 NRSV)
This is not to say that a blind person cannot experience the light of Christ. Matthew is using the eye here to represent the part of us that we use to express who we are and where we are coming from. This would be our state of mind, our judgment, our conscience or what we sometimes call our heart. With our biological eyes wide open, we can shut out the light of the Lord so that it does not come in us.
If you know anything about depression, you know that there is a sense of darkness that accompanies this attack on the mind. The spirit of a person is reduced to a low level. The darkness that is the result of us not letting the true Spirit of God to come in can affect us similarly. Of course, we can be joyful sinners, but not down deep and not for long. This metaphor of the eye being the lamp of the body presents the eye as being the focus of all that we have become and how we then look at the world and how the world looks at us.
We must intentionally seek the light of the Spirit of God. It is found in the life and death of Christ Jesus, who is “God with us.” The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must be the focus of our lives. It is through Christ’s bringing us the Word and love of God that we can light up the darkest parts of our body. Our acquisition of this light must be intentional and regular. We must become a new person in Christ to receive the new life that He promises.
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer, spoke a prophecy as he celebrated the circumcision event of baby John. He said in part, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” His son John would grow up and go onto introduce Him who would be a light in the world in Christ Jesus.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.