Light or Darkness?
“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11:33-36)
Our Master often used this symbolism of light (a candle on a candlestick) for various purposes (Matthew 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16). His intention here is clearly revealed by the context. He is talking about himself. He is declaring that he (the Light of the World) had stood before these men as a bright, shining light. His works, his claims, his ministry were open, public and unmistakably clear. “These things were not done in a corner.”
He who is greater, a greater light and witness, than both Jonah and Solomon is the Light which no man lighted. He is indeed the Light! Our Lord is here declaring that man’s unbelief and rebellion is inexcusable. He is continuing with the same line of thought and doctrine as he gave in verses 29-32. The doctrine of our text is plain. — Light has come into the world, but because men love darkness rather than light, they despise light and choose darkness.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Christ is the Light. Some, seeing the Light, are dazzled by it. One, seeing something of our Lord’s brightness, cried, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” The malicious Pharisees and religionists saw nothing of the Light. They blatantly imputed the Master’s works of mercy to the Devil. Many profess to see some light in him, but see so little that they ask for a sign from heaven to make the light more clear!
Our Lord’s constant answer in his day was the same as it is in ours. The Light just keeps on shining, unaffected by the darkness that cannot see. Brilliantly that Light shined in Palestine; it shines more brilliantly today. The Light is meant to be seen. Therefore the Lord God has put the Light of the World upon a lamp stand and lifted him up. The Light was lifted up by John the Baptist. The Light was lifted up upon the Cross. The Light was lifted up in the Lord’s resurrection. The Light has been lifted up in our Savior’s ascension and exaltation as Lord and King. And the Light is lifted up in the preaching of the gospel.
In the Old Testament, under the types and shadows of the law, the Light was, as it were, hidden under a bushel and not yet lit. Today, the Light shines in all the world, to men and women of every race, kindred, tribe and tongue. The Light now shines. If you do not see, it is no fault of the Light, but of your own blindness (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
Light is essential to spiritual life. Ignorance is not the mother of faith, but of superstition. Faith is the gift of God; but it is a gift given by the light and knowledge of the gospel. If the Light of God does not shine in our soul, the life of God is not there. We must have light, or we have no life. If the Sun of Righteousness does not shine to illuminate our dark hearts, darkness and death yet prevail. We must have light within us, or the Light shining outside us will be of no benefit to our souls (Ephesians 1:15-20).
The Entrance of Light
“The light of the body is the eye.” — Light enters the body through the eye. But how does light enter the soul? If we have no eyes to see, we cannot see, no matter how brightly the sun shines around us.
Our problem is not that there is no light. Our problem is that we have no eyes. The natural man is totally blind spiritually. Therefore, he cannot see. But his condition is far worse even than that. He does not want to see the Light. By nature, we all love darkness rather than light. — “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness” (v. 34).
The eye of the soul is the mind, the understanding, the conscience, the heart. When the eye is clear, single, unclouded, then the whole body is full of light. When the eyes of our souls are opened and enlightened by the Spirit of God into the truths of the Gospel, when there is nothing clouding our vision of the glory of Christ in the gospel, the whole soul is filled with light, joy, comfort and peace.
But when the eye is evil, the whole body is full of darkness. When a person has cataracts covering his eyes, he cannot see. If he has glaucoma, once it is full blown, he is engulfed in darkness. Spiritually, when the understanding is darkened through the blindness and ignorance there is in all men, with respect to the gospel, all the powers and faculties of the soul are engulfed in darkness, and man gropes about in gross darkness.
The eyes of men are blinded by many things. The darkness of our fallen, depraved nature blinds every man. The cataracts, the blinding scales of religious tradition and heresy, blind people. The glaucoma, the haziness, of self-righteousness blinds multitudes. The myopia, the shortsightedness, of materialism and worldliness repays its worshippers with blindness.
Self-seeking, in every form, obscures the light of the soul. The glitter of gold blinds the eye. How could Judas see the beauty and glory of Christ when he saw greater value in the thirty pieces of silver? How can a man set his heart upon heaven and eternity when his eye is fixed on material things?
Of all antichrists, self is the hardest to kill. Pride, ambition, the desire for honor and respect, the craving of man’s approval and applause blind the eye to the light of heaven. Oh, how we crave the approval of men! I am convinced that nothing makes a man more resistant to the doctrine gospel of Christ than the fear that others will not approve. This proud antichrist, self, is never so strong, so vigorous, so unconquerable as in the proud desire human flesh has for the glory of salvation that belongs to God alone. Man, whose god is his belly, is blinded by his god!
A single eye, a clear understanding is God’s gift! A single eye comes from having your eye fixed upon a single Object — Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2-3). If you see Christ, if you see the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, then “blessed are your eyes for they see!” Then your whole body is full of light.
Light Made Darkness
Our Lord says, “When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” The evil eye here is not talking about the evil eye of witchcraft, but the understanding that is perverted, so perverted that light is turned into darkness. In the natural world light can never become darkness; but in spiritual matters it often does. “When thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.”
Take heed to the gospel and the ministry of the gospel, take heed, lest you despise the light and it become darkness to your soul. Light despised will become darkness; and there is no blindness like judicial blindness. From such there is no recovery. Perhaps you are thinking, “How can the light that is in a person become darkness?” Let me show you. Men turn light into darkness when…
“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness!”
What does light do? I cannot think of anything light does except this: — Light shines. That is what we see in verse 36. — “If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.”
When light comes, it shines. If the eye is right, if it is single and clear, there is no great work for it to do that it may get light. The light is shining. All the eye does is see it. When the sun is shining, if you want light, just open your eyes. You don’t need to rub your eyes. Just open them. You don’t need to exercise your eyes. Just open them. You don’t need to discipline your eyes. Just open them. You don’t need to get your eyes into the proper position to see. Just open them! You don’t need to adorn your eyes. Just open them!
When the eye is sound, it takes in light and takes pleasure in the light. It conveys the image of things external to the mind within. If the Lord, in his great grace, has made your eye single, so that you desire only to know the truth, then, without toil or labor, you shall know the truth. The light enters when the window is open. And when the Light comes in, you know it. It is not possible to pass from darkness into light without knowing it, because the shining light dispels darkness, exposing all that is in us. That same shining light reveals that which is outside us. — God’s salvation in Christ! And the light shining in us shines out of us to others. The darker the night the more radiant the light (1 John 1:5-7).
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