Bible with Cross ShadowIf you have been following along with this series, you have by now realized that the Sermon on the Mount is about more than following a list of do’s and don’ts. Oh, it could be understood and taught that way, but Jesus is after more than checklist obedience. He came to save that which was lost, to build His church, and to commission disciples. He intends to lead us, make us and use us to make others.

Such a life requires more than passive or casual compliance. Disciples are disciplined; focused on the mission; and focused on one Master.

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! 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. Matthew 6:22-24

Every once in a while the translators get it wrong. Here in the NKJV, they have translated the Greek word haplous as “good”. Haplous is not translated as “good” anywhere else in the New Testament. It seems they chose “good” as the opposite of “bad”. This is understandable, but it does not do justice to the meaning of this saying.

The primary meaning of haplous is “simple, single”. The KJV uses “single”. On the surface, it does not make sense that the opposite of bad is single. However, in the context of the following verses it makes very good (no pun intended) sense.

Jesus chose His words carefully. An eye that is not singularly focused is bad. Therefore, we can understand this passage to be saying, “If your eye is not singularly focused, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

The Eye of Our Heart

It is important to recognize that this passage is not another disconnected thought. This eye that we must keep focused is the eye of our heart (see verse 21). Jesus is continuing to press the point about our treasures. Lay them up in heaven, and the eye of your heart be focused there. Makes sense, right?

Furthermore, if you lay up on earth, your focus will be bad… and “your whole body will be full of darkness”. This is a serious and sobering warning; particularly for those that are attempting to hedge their bets by storing up in heaven and on earth. The metaphor is perfect: You simply cannot focus your eye, at the same time, on objects ten and one hundred feet away. Your bad eye will eventually give you a headache.

Spiritually speaking, the consequences of poor focus are exponentially more destructive. The darkness Jesus is speaking of is further defined as “ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell” (from; Outline of Biblical Usage). Simple stated:

Failing to have a singularly focused eye leads to hell.

The fact that this darkness is described as light is all the more troubling. The Bible speaks of many being deceived by what appears to be light – the deception of Satan and his Antichrist. Could it be that we are living in the days of this deception? Will we naively – or arrogantly – dismiss the threat?

Simple Obedience; Determined Discipline

To close out this saying, Jesus provides two emphatic statements; statements that we continually struggle to accept.

  1. No one can serve two masters. There are no exceptions. No one is capable of serving more than one master. We are foolish to keep trying.
  2. You cannot serve God and mammon. The treasures of this world are enmity to God. Serving them is serving God’s enemy.

Many followers of Jesus Christ are living as if to prove these statements false, or conditional. This is a deception; darkness appearing as light – leading many to hell. Repentance is needed. Minds must be renewed.

In this passage, Jesus is saying that we must regularly make a disciplined examination of our loyalties – a careful inventory of our assets (Psalm 139:23-24). He is asking, “Are they laid up in heaven, surrendered to the Master; or are they laid up on earth, for our security and comfort? Is the eye of your heart singularly focused on the Master, or does He go out of focus when you consider your treasures? Are you a disciplined disciple?”

These are hard questions, but they are questions that lead to freedom and the abundant life Jesus has promised. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in this regard. I am right there with you.

Humbly yours and forever His,