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Second Sunday of Lent—Pursue Gut-Level Honesty

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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.”

Consider This

The first century understood eyesight differently than we do today. The health of one’s eyes reflected the interior condition of a person. If their eyes were unhealthy, it was symptomatic of their interior life being dark. The eye, Jesus says, is the lamp of the body. The light or lack thereof comes from within a person and shines through their eyes.

“When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light.”

The gospel means change from the inside out. Broken human nature wants to try to cover over the darkness within by creating a shiny surface. As we get closer and closer to the cross, Jesus will confront us with just this reality. He is looking for a radiance that comes from the deepest place in a person. In fact, he is looking for a quality of inner light and life that only he is capable of putting there.

This is why he calls us to follow him. On another occasion, he made this abundantly clear, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 ESV).

Referencing this very thing, the apostle Paul wrote these words: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6 ESV).

Jesus can work with human darkness. What he can’t tolerate are people who try to counterfeit the light by their false appearances. Jesus delights in humble honesty. He detests hypocrisy.

Human beings have an almost infinite capacity for self-­deception. It’s why we are giving ourselves to praying the Jesus Prayer, this ancient prayer that will itself lead us to the cross. I want to urge you to take it not only to heart but to the streets’through your steps. It’s not one of the nine prayers of Jesus, but it may very well be the single most important prayer to him.

I’ll see you tomorrow at dinner with a group who refused to learn this prayer. It will not be pretty.

The Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a son/daughter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a saint.

The Question

How deep is your desire for this inner radiance of the goodness of God (a.k.a. holiness) in your life? What seems more appealing to you than this?