This email is about the second time Jesus used the Hebrew idioms “good eye (generous person) and evil eye (stingy person)” in his teachings. In order to will you understand it better, you need to be aware of public fasts ceremonies in ancient Israel. The Torah ark was wheeled into the city square, where an elder addressed the crowds:
“Brethren, it does not say about the men of Nineveh
that God saw their sack cloth and fasting,
but that God saw their deeds,
that they had turned from their wicked ways.” [i]
People hearing Jesus would most have likely connected those public fasts to what Jesus taught in Luke 11:29-36. It begins with the words below:
29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, he said, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.” (vv. 29-30)
The following information from the Book of Jonah will help you understand the point made above. Follow Jonah’s journey on the map in the above graphic.
● In Joppa, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry out against a Gentile city. Tell them their wickedness has come up before God.” (1:2).
● Instead, Jonah bought a ticket on a boat going in the opposite direct to Tarshish. (1:3)
● God sent a powerful storm that hit the ship Jonah was on (1:4).
● Jonah convinced sailors to throw him overboard to save the ship (1:12-15).
● God had a big fish waiting for Jonah. It swallowed him and he spent three days and nights inside the belly of the big fish (1:17).
● Jonah repented and then the fish took him to shore and literally “threw him up” on dry land. Then Jonah had a very long walk, and a long time to think, on the way to Nineveh (2:10).
● Jonah delivered God’s message to the King. He immediately issued a decreed:
“Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?” (3:5-9)
● God saw that even the animals participated in the repentance of the nation and the people had turned from their evil ways. God decided not to destroy the city (v.10).
Now we are ready to return to the teachings of Jesus. It consists of four parts, with the Hebrew idioms in part 3.
● The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn it.
● She made a long journey just to hear the Wisdom of Solomon.
● Indeed a greater one (Son of Man) than Solomon is here (v. 11:31).
● The men of Nineveh will rise up (resurrection?) in the judgment with this generation and condemn it.
● They repented at the preaching of Jonah.
● Indeed a greater one (Son of Man) than Jonah is here. (v. 11:32).
● No one with a lamp hides it or puts it under a basket.
● One places a lamp on a lampstand so those who come in may see the light.
● The lamp of the body is the eye.
● Those with a good eye (generous giving people) have bodies full of light.
● Those with an evil eye (stingy greedy people) have bodies full of darkness (v. 33-34).
● Make sure your whole body is full of light that people can see! (vv. 11:35-36)
In order to understand why the Son of Man is so important, click here to read our newsletter about him.
Below is the core message the Jewish Jesus repeated in many of his teachings:
You be a light in your generation by being
a generous giving person rescuing others created in the image of God.
Be the Co-Shepherd of God that especially helps the least of the people.
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