Lesson 100—February 7, 2016
Scripture: Matthew 6:22-23
Lesson Goal: To understand what Jesus taught concerning spiritual vision and spiritual blindness.
Introduction: Please begin today’s lesson by reading the straightforward and graphic words of Proverbs 23:4-8, and then write the meaning of these verses in a brief summary.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary offers us these words concerning today’s Scripture passage:
Jesus realized that it would be difficult for His followers to see how His unconventional teaching on security for the future could possibly work. So He used an analogy of the human eye to teach on spiritual sight. He said that “the eye is the lamp of the body.” It is through the eye that the body receives illumination and can see. If the eye is good, the whole body is flooded with light. But if the eye is bad, the vision is impaired. Instead of light, there is darkness.
The contrast is between a person that is blind and one that has sight; thus, a contrast between light and darkness in which they live.
(V22) “The lamp of the body is the eye.”
The words of Jesus obviously are to teach His followers a spiritual lesson. He did not literally mean that the eye was a window letting light into all parts of the body. His words are a figure of speech (a metaphor) which means that “a word or phrase for one thing is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar” (Webster’s Dictionary).
In this part of the verse, Jesus is establishing the importance of the eye, or our ability to see. So much of life depends on the ability to see. As such, Jesus is helping His followers to understand the connection, or relationship, between the eye and the whole body. The ability to see illumines what the body does with hands and feet. Think on this question: What are some things in life that sight affords you the opportunity to do? How long has it been since you paused and sincerely thanked God for your sight?
There are some wonderful people around us who have not been blessed with sight, but are great testimonies for us as they serve the Lord with gladness. They develop and strengthen their other senses and faculties to counteract their lack of sight. I am reminded of my dear brother and friend Pastor Jerry McLain who serves faithfully as the shepherd of the West Point Baptist Church. Although his physical sight is absent, he continues to work, study, teach and preach the Word of God. His lack of physical eyesight has not in any way diminished his spiritual eyesight and insight.
You may have experienced, or at least witnessed, a teacher or instructor blindfolding a student for just a short time to help the student understand what it would be like to live without sight. After being turned around in circles for a few seconds, the blindfolded student walks cautiously and carefully while the other students watch from the peripheral of the classroom offering words of direction and instruction. The demonstration with the blindfold serves as an object lesson to help us understand our dependence on sight.
Personal Pastoral Testimony
It was a Friday evening in March, just a few years ago, when what I thought was a minor irritation in my left eye, caused by seasonal allergies, suddenly became serious. After tossing, twisting and turning for the greater part of the night, I finally got out of bed and moved to another room, so I would not disturb Cindy for the entire night. Sometime just after midnight, I dropped off to sleep only to awaken at 2:00 a.m. with a strange discomfort in my left eye. I stumbled to the bathroom and turned on the light. Something was indeed wrong, but to be honest I was too scared to comprehend. I thought I must still be asleep, so therefore, my brain was simply not quite firing on all cylinders. I then turned on the light over the vanity and discovered what my brain was trying to tell me. I could not see out of my left eye. It was more than I just could not see out of that eye; I could not see light or anything else with the left eye. Cindy took the Maglite® flashlight and held it inches from my eye, but I could not see any light from it. Within just a few minutes, I was in the emergency room at Maury Regional Hospital under the care of Dr. Tim Gordon (optometrist). I was told that I had a severe infection caused by a virus which had attacked the cornea. He immediately began treating the eye with medications. I would like to tell you that I was brave and strong through all this. I would like to say that my faith was rock-solid, but the truth is that as I battled this infection, I was praying, “Please God do not let this infection go to my other eye. I can handle the loss of vision in one eye, but please not both eyes.” During those days, God taught me about the blessing of the sight that I had taken for granted all my life. As I continued under treatment and the daily care of Dr. Gordon, I would have Cindy shine that Maglite flashlight in my left eye. Each time she shined it and I saw no light, the more concerned both she and I became. Dr. Gordon told us to be patient. The medications continued, some literally given hourly. Once, to break the daily routine, Cindy and I decided to go to Hardees. She drove, obviously! While in the Hardees drive-thru, waiting for our order, I saw just a tiny bit of light in my left eye for the first time. Cindy and I both cried and thanked God for the tiny amount of light I could see. With more medication and the outstanding care of Dr. Gordon, God healed my eye. Forgive me for being so lengthy with the testimony, but God truly taught me that I had not appreciated my blessing of sight until it was threatened by the infection.
Months later, as I write this lesson, I am praying for a young woman of our church family who has lost her sight. I am praying for God to heal her and for His special graces to fill her. I thank God for her strength and courage, for I truly remember how very weak I was during my short ordeal. But her strength is a testimony to God’s faithfulness. Please join with me and pray for God’s healing power to touch her eyes. It is my prayer that by the time you read this lesson, we can join together and thank God for the healing that has already occurred in her life.
(V22b) “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body is full of light.”
John MacArthur writes:
The heart is the eye of the soul, through which the illumination of every spiritual experience shines. It is through our hearts that God’s truth, love, peace and every other spiritual blessing comes to us. When our hearts, our spiritual eyes, are clear, then our whole body will be full of light.
The meaning of this portion of the verse is that if our eye, which represents the heart, is bad, our body will be full of darkness. If our hearts are blurred by material possessions and earthly treasures, then we may become blind to the importance of heavenly treasure and heavenly investments.
(V23) The “eye” that “is bad” represents the heart which is selfish and self-centered, the person that thinks only of himself and his own selfish ambitions and glorification.
The greatest blindness is the blindness which thinks it is able to see clearly, but actually does not see at all.
Please read Matthew 23:16, 17, 19, 24, and 26. What is one truth you found in these verses that becomes the example of truth for today’s lesson?
Jesus wants us to understand the danger of laying up earthly treasure while ignoring the eternal treasure. In simple terms, He wants us to have a pure heart that is clearly focused on what is important and lasting.
How can you keep your spiritual eyes clear and focused?
How do we obtain and maintain a pure heart? With proper consideration, please answer prayerfully.