A Literal Eye of a Needle
1/19 Reading Portions: Genesis 20; Matthew 19; Nehemiah 9; Acts 19
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“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
Absurdities, such as this one, were commonly used by rabbis before the days of Christ, as well as after His time. When the Lord Jesus used this nonsensical phrase, He meant a literal camel and literal sewing needle to emphasize its impossibility. It’s clear that Christ’s disciples understood the illustration to be literal by their response:
“Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:25
The Lord’s expression here presents the resistance of the flesh toward the power of the gospel. A rich person will have a greater tendency to be possessed by his or her possessions than a poor person, as was the case with the rich man who approached Jesus in this episode (Matt 19:16, 22). It is not money which hinders the wealthy, but the love of money (1 Tim 6:10), a grievous sin in its idolatry. The death-grip the love of the world has on our corrupt flesh is enormous; and “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16), is what must be overcome for salvation to occur. It did not mean a rich person could not be saved at all. The Lord Jesus tells us it is not impossible with God (Matt 19:27). In fact, the episode, as well as the Lord’s statements, present more conclusively that salvation of the soul is by God’s grace alone. Although a poor person may not be held by the grips of wealth and possessions (since he or she has none), there are still other sins which hold them to earth and make it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for such a sinner to enter God’s kingdom. Moreover, it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for you and I to enter the kingdom of God— in fact, impossible apart from the power of God’s amazing, saving grace. Earthly proclivities will not do it. So impossible is redemption in man’s own, puny, pathetic, earthly strength it took nothing less than God to become a Man, lay down His life on a wooden tree, bear our sins, suffer God’s wrath, die upon the cross, and shed His blood, for us to be saved. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Impossible made possible
By Christ’s pure sacrifice;
Our sins tow’rd God, an inf’nite bill,
Paid with an inf’nite price.
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