Matthew 6:22, 23
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.
The eye is the symbol for the purpose, motive, or intention of the heart. It is also put for the understanding. The head is powerfully influenced by the heart. Consider -
I. THE EYE IN RELATION TO THE LIGHT.
1. The eye is not self-luminous.
(1) It is the "lamp" rather than the "light" of the body. God is the Light. True motives are from God.
(2) The "single eye" is the motive to serve God alone. So in ver. 24 it is thus stated: "We cannot serve God and mammon."
(3) We have nothing that we do not receive.
2. It is the capacity for receiving light.
(1) The light of the world would avail little without the lamp of the body. The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27).
(2) The image of God in man capacitates him for union and fellowship with God.
(3) The capacity for receiving light partakes of the nature of light. Hence the eye is said to enlighten the body.
3. The capacity for God may be destroyed.
(1) The eye - the motive - may become constitutionally evil. "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness." The eye may lose its lustre by disuse. It may lose it by abuse,
(2) The evil eye is the perverted heart, the covetous heart, the envious heart, the avaricious heart (cf. Proverbs 23:6, 7; Matthew 20:15; Mark 7:22). The evil eye of the Pharisee sought the applause of men rather than the glory of God.
(3) The double eye is the hypocritical heart. The eye is double when we profess to honour God and contrive to honour ourselves. When we seek our own things under colour of seeking the things of Christ.
II. THE EYE IN RELATION TO THE BODY.
1. Motive gives quality to conduct.
(1) As the eye stands for the motive, so does the body stand for the whole deportment, conversation, or conduct of the man.
(2) The eye brightens while looking at God, the essential Light; and it enlightens the whole body.
(3) The dark eye involves the body in darkness. Evil motives corrupt the conversation (cf. Psalm 82:5).
2. The matter is therefore momentous.
(1) Truth is satisfying. The whole body shall be full of light, as if all eye. Truth brings grace; it brings comfort.
(2) Truth is generous. So will the motive be that is true (cf. Proverbs 22:9; James 1:5).
(3) How great is that light! It enlightens the whole body. It is infinitely greater than the body.
(4) Conversely, how great is that darkness! Error here; despair hereafter for ever. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.