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Matthew 6:22 - Lamp of the body?

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  • Matthew 6:22 - Lamp of the body?

    Hello all! I've started re-reading the New Testament, as it's been years since the last time I did, and I was curious if anyone could explain to me what exactly Matthew 6:22 means?

    "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

    I understand "The lamp of the body is the eye" (I think? lol), I just don't exactly understand what is meant by if your eye is good, you're full of light and vice versa.

    Thanks for any help!

  • #2
    In the Hebrew language and culture, having a "good eye" is a reference to generosity. Seen in this light, the following statement about God and Mammon also makes a lot more sense.
    Who have I in heaven but You oh God? Besides You, I desire nothing here on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail me, but God will be the strength of my heart and my portion for me, the nearness of God is my good - Psalm 73:25-26, 28a

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    • #3
      In the physical sense the analogy is quite simple. Eyes are light receptors. If our eyes are good light enters them and sends signals to our brain and our bodies will respond accordingly. However if we are blind or our eyes are bad, light doesn't enter and obviously this presents all types of problems for the individual.

      Now translating all this to its spiritual meaning or application could produce any number of things. In context this passage is sandwiched between two passages about wealth or the love of money. Jesus is obviously targetting the religious Pharisees who were for the most part consumed by covetousness. So one could say that their love of money had blinded them to their need for repentance and salvation since it had become their master rather than God. Paul told Timothy that:

      "...those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil..." (1 Tim 6:9-10)

      I don't know about you, but I don't think "darkness" gets much worse than that! Jesus' comment about the light in them being darkness is a bit difficult to work out but it may have to do with the revelation of God (The Scriptures and Christ Himself) that they had received and yet it had left them completely unmoved and in fact, in the case of Christ, it had only hardened their hearts against Him. So they had all this revelation (light) of God and yet because their spiritual eyes were bad, even this light was to them as darkness. Reminds me of John 1:4-5, 10-11:

      In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it...He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.



      • #4
        I suggest it has something to do with the fact that if I look a person 'in the eye' I can see love, or hate, or warmth, or coldness, or amusement, or scepticism etc.etc.

        So from their eye I can see what is in their mind, either good or bad.


        • #5
          Thank you, Leigh (and everyone else ), that helped immensely.