There are some things that Jesus said which must have caused His disciples to scratch their heads and wonder what He was talking about. Certainly for me, a twenty-first century disciple, it isn’t always clear what Jesus is getting at. I had long wondered about this verse, because as a life-long wearer of glasses it crossed my mind that maybe I was in danger of being filled with darkness.
The beginning of revelation came when I realised that an ‘eye’ is a light receiver and a ‘lamp’ is a light transmitter, and that Jesus was talking about a spiritual light receiver and a spiritual light transmitter, and not a physical one. In addition it seemed that Jesus was implying that the eye and the lamp are one, a bit like a two-way radio that receives and then transmits what it has received. I realised He was trying to make clear that if your ability to receive spiritual light is good then you can transmit this same spiritual light into all of your being, including your thinking, your decisions, your behaviours. Your whole self would be illuminated and brought into clarity by this same light. (I understand spiritual light to mean truth and understanding).
But what part of me is my spiritual light receiver? What is it that Jesus calls the ‘eye’? Further revelation came through two verses in Proverbs which talk of a spiritual ‘eye’ or a ‘lamp’ (Proverbs, 20:27, 23:26) I also realised that, in Romans 8:16, Paul explains that we can only receive the spiritual truth that we are His children from God’s Spirit into our human spirit. Revelation, the entry of spiritual light, comes into the human spirit, not the physical eye or the mental reasoning. The human spirit is the ‘eye’ Jesus talks of and from the human spirit this revealed truth (light) is transmitted onward.
So Jesus is saying you need a healthy human spirit (not a healthy physical eye) to receive His spiritual light, and the truth that this brings will illuminate your whole being; your mind, will, emotions, behaviour and attitudes. They can all be illuminated with what the human spirit has received; His wonderful light.
However if your human spirit isn’t healthy, because it’s crushed or overwhelmed (Psalm 143:3-4) then your spiritual light-receiver is faulty. Then you can only receive partial light, dim or unclear spiritual revelation, (like a physical eye which isn’t able to receive a clear and bright image). It follows that what’s transmitted into the rest of your being is also less clear. It may be at best distorted, or at worst little better than darkness.
Prayer: Lord I recognise that I may have a faulty light-receiver, and so have little light (truth) to transmit into my life, to effect change in my thinking, choices and behaviour. With the limited spiritual vision I have today I choose to open my inner spiritual ‘eye’ to receive Your light and truth. I pray this light will increasingly bring healing, especially to my human spirit, so I can see Your truth ever more clearly. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen
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