“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?”
Anyone besides me ever wonder what in the world Jesus was talking about here in this statement, in their lifetime??? We have to remember that the scripture was translated into English over 1500 years after Jesus said this. The culture is different, the era is different, and with that the entire context is likely lost. Much of the things Jesus said has often left us guessing due to this fact.
What Jesus spoke here was a Hebrew idiom from the culture of His day, to illustrate a point. 2000 years ago, Jews heard this often. It’s kind of like in my lifetime I have heard older people say things such as “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” meaning to “advise someone not to refuse something good that is being offered.” Or they would use the expression, ” You bought a pig in a poke”, referring to “something that is purchased without first knowing its value, or having seen it firsthand.”
So what did he mean by this passage of scripture? The context of the chapter is about “giving.” Jesus is discussing money and generosity. So in this mindset, having a “good eye” meant being a giver, or the same as having an open hand. But having a “bad or evil eye” meant to be greedy and close-handed. The term “evil eye” in our day means to look narrowly upon someone with ill intent. The use of the idioms are polar opposites, and His intent is lost in translation and time.
Jesus was saying that a godly heart is generous and that an evil heart was not generous, but rather greedy. Remember what Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10??
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Now look at the verse following Jesus’ statement of the Hebrew idiom….
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money.)
Jesus was teaching in this entire discourse on money and its purpose in the Kingdom of God, verses the kingdom of darkness. God blesses those who give because givers care about the needs of others. Many must first be broken of greed and the love of money before God can truly bless their lives or their finances. Giving is the prescription for a stronghold of greed. A non-tither will never be blessed by God, nor is there is such a person named in God’s kingdom. A non-giver os equal to an unbeliever and idolater. They will not be saved. And a truly free giver will abound because their love for money is dead, and God can entrust them with plenty, because they’ll give it away to help needs and not be destroyed by it in the love of this world. Their pleasure is not in material wealth, but they are enriched by the joy of helping others. They lay up treasure in Heaven.