24 Seeing that he became sad, Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For 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.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Then who can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 Then Peter said, “Look, we have left what we had and followed you.” 29 So he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left a house, wife or brothers or sisters, parents or children because of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more at this time, and eternal life in the age to come.”
I was in fifth grade when I first heard the rumor. A friend said, “Hey, did you know that they froze Walt Disney’s body so that he would stop aging, and they will thaw him out and bring him to life at the right time?” My friend sounded very convincing, but I wasn’t sure. Could it be? The master of those amazing cartoons and amusement park to be revived? I ran this by a trusted adult who assured me that this was scientifically impossible, and that Walt Disney would not be making a reappearance. I was a little disappointed.
There are many things in life that are impossible or thought to be impossible. You can watch a YouTube video about “10 times the impossible became possible,” which primarily showcases extreme sports and the crazy ways these athletes accomplished a world record by doing the seemingly impossible.
In this passage in Luke, Jesus also talks about making the impossible possible. For context, let’s remember that He invited the rich young ruler to join Him, but that he turned away sad because he had a lot of money. He didn’t think he could give up his wealth to join Jesus and His band of disciples.
Jesus then goes on to explain how hard it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. He uses a word picture. You know how the eye of a needle is just big enough to get a little piece of thread to enter? Now try to get a camel through it. Impossible! Sounds even ridiculous to imagine.
You must understand, Jesus is making this pronouncement in a society where wealth was generally considered a sign of God’s favor. “Who then can be saved?” was the natural response. If a successful religious man is left out, what’s the hope for the rest of us?
Notice what Jesus doesn’t say. He doesn’t say that only the poor can enter in. He doesn’t say that His Kingdom is only available for those living below a certain level of wealth.
He says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Following Jesus means surrendering all we have and are into His hands. Lord means master, and Jesus tells us we can only have one of those. Those who are rich may have an additional difficulty with this, because possessions and wealth have a way of capturing our hearts and commanding our allegiance.
How can you be saved, whether rich or poor? Impossible. How can I enter the Kingdom of God? Impossible.
The Good News is that Jesus came to make the impossible possible. As we come to Him surrendered with empty hands, He gives us so much in this life and in the life to come (see verses 29-30).
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Wealth was the rich young ruler’s idol that kept him from surrendering all to Jesus. Are you clinging to any idols? Image? Status? Popularity? It’s been said that money, sex and power are three prominent idols of the human heart and of our age. Are any of these commanding your allegiance more than Jesus?
- What gives you the ability to inherit the Kingdom of God? Do you see your situation as impossible apart from what God has done for you in Jesus?
- Read verses 29-30 to see what promises Jesus offers to those who surrender all to follow Him.
Pray for our global workers as their lives and locations have been disrupted during the pandemic. Many have been living in temporary housing for months, awaiting the opportunity to return. Pray that the gospel has continued to spread in their absence and for renewed relationships when they return.