What is Jesus teaching in Luke 11:33-36?
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you” (Luke 11:33-36).
- Luke 11:33 – Perhaps a reference to how openly Jesus’ shined the light for a generation that demands a sign (v.29).
- Luke 11:34-36 – Inner light that comes through the eye – (verse 36 connects the concern back with verse 33).
When trying to understand a difficult passage like this, it helps to explore ways that the Bible speaks about the main topics. In this case, we can look at ways the Bible addresses light, darkness and the eye.
Light and darkness are used throughout the Bible as metaphors for God’s revelation and removal of revelation from God; for moral purity and evil; for truth and deception; for spiritual understanding and ignorance or blindness to truth.
The eye is considered the igniting source to temptation and sin.
1. Eve was drawn to the forbidden fruit after “she saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6).
2. When a man named Achan hindered Israel by giving into temptation, his confession exposed the path of temptation: “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them.” (Joshua 7:20-21).
3. David saw the beautiful woman, sent and inquired about her and finally sent messengers and took her (II Samuel 11).
4. Jesus emphasized the power of sight to cultivate a heart toward evil, “…I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).
Important cross references:
- Romans 2:17-13 “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?”
- John 9:39-41 “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”