“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
I can see clearly now!
I have worn glasses since the age of ten. I can still remember my mother taking me out of class one day to be fitted with my new glasses. When I arrived back at the primary school everything looked so much clearer than it had before.
It is always good to see things with clarity and sharpness.
In recent years I have taken up photography as a hobby. Last year I bought an SLR camera and began to slowly work through the user’s manual. A good photograph requires a combination of the right lighting together with clarity and focus; mostly it is an act of concentration.
Here in Matthew’s gospel we find Jesus teaching with perfect clarity and vision. His words are focused. He sees the shape of what it will mean to follow him and paints a clear picture for his disciples.
These words are easy to understand but difficult to live out. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tackles almost every subject that matters- happiness, conviction, forgiveness, marriage, prayer and spirituality. Then he explores the issue of what we see.
Today we live in a society that is saturated with images. Pictures are used to sell almost every product imaginable. Jesus calls us to view all things with discernment. This teaching comes in the context of a section on possessions. Later Jesus calls us to focus on what has the greatest meaning in life- to seek first God’s kingdom and all other things will fall into place.
I suspect that this call to a singular Christian vision is not reached quickly or easily. It is not as simple as being fitted for a new pair of prescription lenses. It starts by us listening to Jesus and allowing his words to change us. Over time it is these words that sharpen our vision and allow us to see clearly.
David Enticott is a Melbourne writer and Baptist pastor.