Pluck out your eye (Mk 9:47-9:47)

“If your eye

Causes you

To stumble,

Tear it out!

It is better

For you

To enter

The kingdom of God

With one eye

Than to have

Two eyes

To be thrown into hell.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἔκβαλε αὐτόν· καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν

 

This saying about it being better to be blind in one eye can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:9, almost word for word.  This warning was almost the same as the warning about the stumbling hand and foot.  Jesus then spoke about the problem of wandering eyes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your eye causes you to stumble or sin (καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε), cast it out, gouge it out, or pluck it out (ἔκβαλε αὐτόν).  It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God (εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) blind in one eye or one eyed (καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον) than to have two eyes (ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς) but thrown into Gehenna or hell (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye than being in these hell fires with two eyes.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block or snare was, get rid of it, even if it is your eye.  This message was clear.  One eyed, one foot, or one hand was better than eternal fire.

Proclaim it (Mt 10:27-10:27)

“What I say

To you

In the dark,

Tell it in the light!

What you hear

Whispered,

Proclaim it

From the housetops.”

 

ὃ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ, εἴπατε ἐν τῷ φωτί· καὶ ὃ εἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε, κηρύξατε ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:3, indicating a Q source.  Jesus told his disciples what he told him in the darkness (ὃ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ), they were to utter and tell it in the light (εἴπατε ἐν τῷ φωτί).  Whatever they heard whispered in their ear (καὶ ὃ εἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε), they were to proclaim it from the housetops (κηρύξατε ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων).  They were to proclaim the good news loud and clear in the light of day.

A healthy eye (Mt 6:22-6:23)

“The eye is the lamp

Of the body.

So,

If your eye is clear,

Your whole body

Will be full of light.

But if your eye is

Evil,

Your whole body

Will be full of darkness.

If then the light

In you

Is darkness,

How great is that darkness!”

 

Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός. ἐὰν οὖν ᾖ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς, ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινὸν ἔσται·

ἐὰν δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρὸς ᾖ, ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινὸν ἔσται. εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοὶ σκότος ἐστίν, τὸ σκότος πόσον.

 

This saying of Jesus is similar to what is in Luke, chapter 11:34-35, so that it may be from the Q source.  The eye was the lamp of the body (Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός).  If there was a healthy clear sound eye (ἐὰν οὖν ᾖ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς), then you would have a whole body full of light (ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινὸν ἔσται).  This is the only time that the word “ἁπλοῦς” is used in the New Testament literature.  Both Luke and Matthew used it here, since it means simple, sound, clear, or perfect.  If, on the other hand, your eye was not healthy or evil (ἐὰν δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρὸς ᾖ), your whole body would be full of darkness (ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινὸν ἔσται).  Notice that Matthew did not use the opposite of clear, but chose the more common word for evil, “πονηρὸς.”  Thus, you had an evil eye.  On the other hand, both Luke and Matthew used a word that appears only here, “σκοτεινὸν,” to talk about a full total darkness.  If the light that is in you is dark (εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοὶ σκότος ἐστίν), that is a really great darkness (τὸ σκότος πόσον).  Light and darkness was a common theme among the early Christians.  Light was good, but darkness was evil.  The connection of light to the eye was natural since the sense of blindness and darkness centered around the eyes.

Saving both the north and the south (Zech 10:6-10:7)

“I will strengthen

The house of Judah.

I will save

The house of Joseph.

I will bring them back

Because I have compassion on them.

They shall be

As though I had not rejected them.

I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I will answer them.

Then the people of Ephraim

Shall become like warriors.

Their hearts shall be glad

As with wine.

Their children

Shall see it.

They shall rejoice.

Their hearts shall exult

In Yahweh.”

Yahweh, here in Zechariah, assumed the first person singular.  He was going to strengthen and save the house of Judah and Joseph, because he was going to bring them back in a compassionate way.  They were going to be, as if they had never been rejected.  Yahweh was clear.  He was their God.  Thus, he would answer them.  He would be particularly kind to the northern people in Ephraim.  They would become like warriors with wine filled glad hearts.  Their children would see what was going on and be happy as they exulted in Yahweh.

The restoration of Israel (Ezek 39:25-39:25)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Now I will restore

The fortunes of Jacob.

I will have mercy

On the whole house

Of Israel.

I will be jealous

For my holy name.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, was clear. He was going to restore the fortunes of Jacob. He was going to have mercy on the whole house of Israel. However, he was still going to be jealous about his holy name.