27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Yesterday we looked at Jesus’ description of anger; today we look at his description of lust. Before we talk about how Jesus viewed lust and adultery, which is quite self-explanatory, I’d like to consider verse 29. We have heard a lot about lust of the heart and of the eyes and how looking at someone lustfully is committing adultery with them in the heart and God who knows the heart looks at it as evil as the action. So, in verse 29 Jesus seems to give a remedy for the situation, though a bit harsh, it would seem. Jesus goes on to say immediately after his shocking revelation on thought-adultery, that if this is a problem for you perhaps you should pluck out your eye.
What? Pluck out your eye? Can you imagine the response of the crowd to this teaching? First they get shocked that the look is as bad as the act then they hear that it is better to pluck out the eye. There must have been a bit of a ruckus at this point. Some on the fringes probably left. The Pharisees got out their quill and papyrus and wrote this one down in unbelief. “Pluck out your own eye.” Really????? Who in their right mind would pluck their eye out and go throughout life blind?
Have you ever spoken in hyperbole? This is where you use the worst or strongest example possible to make a point. Moms are good at this. To scare their kids they tell them the worst that could happen when they do something dumb. Were you ever told that if you swallow your gum it would take seven years to digest? I swallowed so much gum I should have been stopped up for life. The point was, “Don’t swallow your gum!” The hyperbole tried to make the point stronger.
Jesus never told anyone to pluck their eye out but he was making an eternal point. Which is worse, to go through life without an eye or to spend eternity in hell because you refused to stop looking with an adulterous eye? Eyes and minds can be trained. Hell is forever and is eternal punishment. With an eye focused on eternity turn away from looking at others with adultery in your heart. We too often look at the temporary stuff with lustfulness. When we keep an eye on eternity we realize the temporal nature of every part of this life.
Where is your eye today? What does it focus on? Is adultery in your eye or is eternity in your view? Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” It is worth denying ourselves of every immoral thought and look to follow Christ. Colossians 3:1 says, “Set your affections, your desires, your eyes, on things above, not on things of the earth.” Let’s have a day of keeping our eyes on Christ, His love, His purposes, and His glory.
Sunday’s message will be coming from 1 John 2:3-11. Read this over before Sunday and prepare your heart and mind for the message. I am looking forward to our time together.
Men, I would love to see a few more of you at our prayer breakfast at Denny’s tomorrow morning at 7:30 .
Have a great day in the Lord,