Luke 18:25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a
rich man to enter the kingdom of God
Greetings in the matchless name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Hope you all are doing well.
For the last two centuries, this has been a common teaching that there is a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle. A camel could not pass through this unless it stooped and first had all its baggage removed. After dark, when the main gates were shut, travelers or merchants would have to use this smaller gate, through which the camel could only enter unencumbered
and crawling on its knees! Since at least the 15th century, and possibly as early as the 9th century, this story has been put forth. However, there is no evidence for such a gate in the history. This is a sweet example but it has lost the true message of Jesus Christ. The problem with this illustration is that we are trying to prove that a rich man can enter the kingdom of God, if he humbles himself. But this was not what Jesus meant. He said that it is hard for a Rich Man to enter the kingdom of God, but a camel can enter through eye of the needle.” We all know that our Lord used metaphors in many cases. Once He spoke about a plank in an eye. We should not take these terms literally for when we do that, we actually miss the true point. Let us understand the word as it is written and learn what Jesus is trying to say.
Once, a rich ruler came to Jesus Christ seeking for eternal life. His intention was good and rare in those days. Many sought Jesus for materials blessings but here we see a man who came to Jesus for eternal life. Secondly, He was a man who obeyed God’s commandments since his youth. He did not earn money in a wrong way. Thirdly, He came to the right person looking for eternal life. If we look at these good qualities, we come to the conclusion that that this man is worthy to receive eternal life. But Jesus pointed out that he lacked one thing in his life. Sometimes we too think that we have attained eternal life, but it is always good to hear what God wants to tell us about us, because he knows what we lack. He came to Jesus seeking eternal life, but Jesus pointed out the hindrance in his life. Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life but before getting into the way of Life, He wants us to remove all the hindrances that will make us stumble. The Lord told him to sell his possessions and give them to the poor. Though this man had many good qualities, his heart was on his possession. He loved his wealth. When this rich ruler heard this, he became very sad and went on his way, because he was a man of great wealth. That shows his love for money or possession. He wanted to inherit eternal life but the love of money was a hindrance. He was rich both religiously and materially. His heart possessed the riches of this world. That’s why he could not possess the riches of heaven. If we possess anything of this world, we will not have any part in the riches of heaven. You may disagree with me but this is the word of God.
Further to this conversation, Jesus looked at this rich man and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. This is written is such simple words and I don’t understand why we need to make up stories to illustrate this. Jesus is not against rich men. If He would have, He would have never gone to the house of Simon, the Pharisee or Zacchaeus. Jesus was against their love for money – He loves men but hates sin. Those who heard this asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved”? Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Here is the secret of the message. It is impossible for men to enter the kingdom of God by themselves, but it is possible only by God’s grace. God’s grace is a free gift but it is available only for those who accept it. God’s grace is not only an unmerited favor but also a power to overcome the love of money from heart. Zacchaeus was a rich man who earned money through wrong ways. He had possessed a huge amount of it. But when he decided to see Jesus and welcomed Him into his heart and home, the amazing power of God changed the value system of Zacchaeus. He declared “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount”. The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Peter, hearing the conversation about the camel in the needle’s eye said to Jesus, “we have left all we had to follow you” Let us see the reply of Jesus Christ which will clear all our doubts. Jesus said to his disciples “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” When we give up everything for the Lord we are not actually loosing it, but possessing something better and much more precious. John 12:25, ‘Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.’ When we note the reaction of the rich ruler when he was told to sell his possession, we realize how much he loved this life of this world. He did not want to lose it and follow Jesus Christ. Jesus said to hate our life in this world …That doesn’t mean that we should torture our body. But it means that we should not love this life more than the life which Christ will give us. Till yesterday, Zacchaeus loved money but now, when Jesus came into his life, his value system changed…He gave value to Christ rather than money. So when Christ comes to our life, we realize what the true riches are. We may posses not only our wealth but many other things. Where possession is there, our heart is also possessed. Some posses their children, some job, some education and some pleasure. What is that we posses today? Have we given them up or are we still holding unto them? Do we still love this life? Do we have eternity on our eyeballs? If we posses anything in this world then we are not loving or trusting God. It hard for you and me to give up our possessions, but if we confess about them today before our Lord, He will give his grace to give up the possessions and follow him.
May God help you.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen