The Parable of the Harmful Eye

Luke 11.34

Christ’s parable of the ‘evil’ eye portrays our inability to grasp spiritual matters. It shows that blurred spiritual vision is a wilful condition, for we do not want to know about the Lord. Here is how we may ‘see’, and find God’s forgiving love.

“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.”

It’s the parable of the harmful or the evil eye told by the Lord. One of the very short parables, a parable in three verses, and we’ll be looking really at only one verse. The light of the body, the subject carrying on from the preceding verse, is spiritual understanding, understanding about God, understanding who he is, understanding how to know him, understanding his purpose for creation, for mankind, his aims, his ideals, all these things which God has revealed in his Word, in the Scriptures. So light is understanding, particularly about spiritual things.

You can be a genius. You can be so accomplished in some great field of learning, and yet if you know nothing of God, nothing of purpose, the purpose of life, nothing of eternity, nothing of human destiny, well, you have no light in the terms used here. The light of the body is the analogy, is the parable. The light of the body is the eye. The eye is the great informing faculty. The eye informs the body where you are, where you’re going, what you’re doing. The Saviour says, “If the eye is right,” in this sense, “the body is full of light as though the whole body sees.”

And that’s true. If you work with your hands, how do your hands know where to go, how to handle things correctly, how to carry out your craft or trade or whatever it is? The hands can’t see, but they can see. If the eye sees, it is as if the hands see. So the hands see because of the eye.