Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” When his disciples heard this, they were stunned. “Then who can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.” Then Peter replied, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you. What will we have?” Jesus said to them, “I assure you who have followed me that, when everything is made new, when the Human One[f] sits on his magnificent throne, you also will sit on twelve thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. And all who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms because of my name will receive one hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first (Matthew 19:23-30, Common English Bible).
“…it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” The sentence seems to be absurd, especially if we are attempting to take things literally. Of course it is impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Unless, that is, one considers this picture:
This picture is of the narrowest gate into old Jerusalem. It has always been known to local people as “The Eye of the Needle.” It was the fastest way into the city. But fast did not mean it was without risk. This “gate” into the city was so narrow a camel could barely squeeze through, if you first removed anything that hung from the camel’s sides. Because you must first remove the cargo you took a risk as it presented thieves with their best chance of stealing your belongings.
When I sat down to start writing this blog I had every intention of saying that this was what I believe Jesus was speaking about when he made the statement that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle…” As I write, I am realizing it is not what I believe at all. To go through this city gate, though difficult and dangerous, it is possible. That would mean I could have the Kingdom, both in the present and in eternity, by the things I do. It would be possible, though extraordinarily difficult, for me to do this on my own.
That is just bad theology. I, all of us, stand in need of God’s grace. We cannot do this on our own, just as we can’t push a camel through the eye of a needle. But, what is impossible of us, is very possible for God. We cannot do things on our own. We need the grace of God.
Where are the places you try to do things on your own instead of depending on the grace of God?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved