No Sight Despite The Light
May 05, 2019 | Randy Smith
No Sight Despite The Light
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Pastor Randy Smith
Of all the challenges we can face physically, perhaps one of the most difficult is losing your sight. Recently I read about a woman this week named Kim Tindall that was forced to adapt to these changes.
She said, “Perhaps there is nothing more disorienting than losing your vision. The world is turned upside down. The independence once taken for granted is shattered and falls to the floor; one’s previous existence seems as distant as another life. The problem is that it isn't one or two things that need to be relearned; it’s everything. Going to the fridge to get a glass of milk used to be something I could do half asleep; after I lost my vision it became a multi-step process, and any error meant I found myself standing, lost in a house I'd lived in for years.”
For Kim, her surroundings didn’t change, but losing her eyesight changed her ability to perceive them. Her problem was not light, but rather sight. Remember that!
You see, what happens in the physical realm for the visually impaired is the same that happens in the spiritual realm for the spiritually impaired. They might complain about not having enough spiritual light (revelation) to see God. Yet the Bible says their problem is not God’s fault. As Romans 1 says, God has made Himself evident (Rom. 1:19). The problem is not God’s. The problem is their own. According to the Bible, the problem is that they simply refuse to see and believe what God has already revealed about Himself. The problem is impaired spiritual sight. Listen, God was never more visible than when He appeared in Christ and He was never more rejected. This morning as we prepare for the Lord’s Table we’ll see this principle in action as to why all people that choose to reject Christ are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
Let’s begin with the first point, “Wicked Announced.”
The last time we were in Luke we learned that Jesus performed an exorcism. Verse 14, “The crowds were amazed.” Yet we also learned that the Pharisees, unable to discredit the miracle, attributed the exorcism to Satan. Verse 15, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others seeking to test Him, verse 16, “Demanded…a sign from heaven.” So some claimed Satan was the cause of the miracle. Others acted like Satan and demanded more signs.
Now verse 29 (the new material regarding “signs”) “As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, ‘This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign.’”
What was so wicked about demanding more signs? The Jews, especially the leaders were very moral. They were also very religious. That’s not what made them wicked. What made them wicked was challenging Jesus when He had already given them amble light to believe.
It’s the parent that bends over backward to love a child and then the child says, “Mommy, if you really love me you will buy me this toy.” A parent, moreover God, will not stoop to that level.
The Jews simply refused to believe because they hated Jesus. God has given every human being enough light to believe in Him in creation and conscience and the Bible to prove His existence. The folks back then were even witnesses to His miracles, seeing Him in the flesh. To demand more as if God’s light is insufficient is, according to Jesus, wicked.
Verse 29, “And yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.” He’ll give them one more. Jonah and that’s it! Verse 30, “For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” What’s that? You know the story! As Jonah was swallowed up by the sea monster for three days (Jon. 1:17), Jesus will be swallowed up by the earth for three days. As Jonah was delivered from his imprisonment, Jesus will be delivered from His imprisonment in the grave (cf. Jn. 2:18). Resurrection!
The Resurrection was an amazing sign. Our Lord’s most powerful and significant and convincing one. Yet even then the religious leaders would bribe the soldiers and spin a lie that the disciples stole away the body. Proof we do not need more light. We need better sight!
Let’s move to the second point and see how Jesus justifies the condemnation of their wickedness with two stories from the Old Testament.
The first one is seen in verse 31 regarding the “Queen of the South” or also known as the “Queen of Sheba.” The account is found in 1 Kings 10.
It’s an interesting story that goes back to the time of Solomon. A very wealthy queen came to Israel when she heard about the wisdom of Solomon. When Solomon answered all her questions and she observed the management of his house and kingdom she said, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. Nevertheless I did not believe the reports, until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard. How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness” (1 Ki. 10:6-9).
She then lavished upon him incredible gifts.
In light of that story, here is what Jesus said in verse 31. “The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” Do you see His point?
This Gentile traveled from far away based only on reports to see the greatness of a man and then blesses him with her words of praise and gifts of value. On the contrary, the Jews who are right there in Israel witness Jesus’ miracles firsthand and they cannot see one far wiser and greater than Solomon. They pour upon Jesus not gifts, but rather contempt and scorn. They accuse Him to be an agent of Satan and plot to kill Him.
Do you see how more light does not necessarily mean greater sight?
A second story making the same point is seen in verse 32. Back to Jonah. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”
So the Ninevites, pagan Gentiles hear the preaching of impending doom from a rebellious prophet and they accept his message and repent of their sin. And now the greatest prophet comes to His own people. He lives a perfectly righteous life and brings a message of grace. Unlike Jonah, He attends His message with miracles as well. And while the pagan Ninevites believe Jonah, the religious Jews reject Jesus.
Do you see how their judgment is greater? Do you see how we are judged based on the light we have received? The Jews had light. And they didn’t just have light. They had the Light of the World and they were blind to see Him.
So what’s going on here? Why does something this serious happen to people. Why so much rejection? Why can’t people see God? I take you to our final point, “Wickedness Explained.”
In verse 33 Jesus states a universal truth we can all agree upon. “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” That’s doesn’t require any elaborate explanation. Light came from lamps back then. Why would anyone light a lamp and then make an effort to conceal the light?
Jesus used this same illustration earlier in Luke 8:16 – same illustration, different teaching point. There the teaching point was that we are the light of God to unbelievers. There the command was to be sure that we are not ashamed of Christ or keeping Christ to ourselves, but rather live and speak as witnesses of Him. To allow the light of Christ to shine from us to others.
Here the illustration is the same, but the interpretation is a little different. There it was to be a witness to Christ. Here it is to be sure we do not obstruct the light that is shining in our hearts. The warning here is to not make the same mistake as the Jews. Don’t snuff out the light. The warning here is to respect and heed the light that God has already provided.
God gives all in the world revelation of Himself. We have been referring to that as light. We are blind in the darkness, but just like physical light, spiritual light enables us to see reality. God’s light shines in the world. God’s light has never been brighter than when God appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. And for the most part it was rejected (see Lk. 16:27-31). Again the problem is not with the light as if God is holding anything back from us. He has given sufficient revelation. The problem is with our sight.
Look at verse 34. “The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.
Again, simple anatomy. Light enters the physical eyes. When the eyes are clear (literally- “single”/single-focused, working properly, wide open), our whole body is illuminated and informed. The whole body is “full of light.”
For instance, if I want to eat some chips and salsa some important steps need to take place. I need to locate the salsa in the refrigerator and the chips from the cabinet. My hand needs to grab a chip from the bag and then place it in the salsa. Carefully it needs to bring it to my mouth for consumption. None of this would happen if I couldn’t see. The eye needs to see the food and communicate to the brain so the muscular system can begin its proper functions.
The application is clear on the spiritual level. Of all the spiritual responsibilities expected of me, none of it will take place unless my spiritual sight can see and thus be motivated to follow Christ. It starts with the eyes and apart from the spiritual eyes seeing who God is I remain in the darkness. Spiritual blindness toward Christ results in spiritual rejection of Christ.
The lamp can radiate all the light it wants, but it is meaningless unless the eye can see. Likewise, those demanding more signs, more light, all is meaningless unless one has spiritual sight.
This illustration is found throughout Scripture. Revelation 3, to the “lukewarm” church of Laodicea. “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind” (Rev. 3:17). “I advise you to buy from Me…eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see” (Rev. 3:18). Paul was sent as a missionary “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God” (Ac. 26:18). Jesus came, Luke 1:79, “To shine upon those who sit in darkness.” Or how about Jesus continually referring to the Pharisees as “blind guides” (Mt. 23).
So in verse 34 good eyes see the light making the “whole body…full of light.” Bad eyes don’t see God’s revelation of Himself, leading the body to be “full of darkness.”
Verse 35, “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.”
There are a whole a lot of people professing to be wise. There are many more all over the world professing to be spiritual. But the warning here in verse 35 is to make sure that the light we profess to have obtained is really light from the true God Himself. Wisdom is nothing unless it begins with the fear of the Lord. And religion is nothing unless it begins and ends with the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot reject the Light of the World and claim to be enlightened!
Do you see and receive the light? Does Christ dwell in you? Do you give evidence of His presence by a changed heart that now bears the fruit of the Spirit?
Verse 36, “If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”
When we were camping last week my daughter called me over to her tent. She thought it was being surrounded by strange people. What happened was that every individual that walked by cast a shadow on her tent because they passed by the bright bathroom light. Light illuminates.
When you place yourself in from of a lamp it shines light on your entire body. Likewise when you come to Christ it is complete salvation, complete reorientation, complete transformation to be fully realized in future glory.
If you have rejected God’s light, repent and pray that He open your spiritual eyes (2 Cor. 4:4-6). There is no journey to find God. He is right there. There is no need for inner light. Everything is external from Him. Come into communion with Him through Christ.