Summary: Ironic isn’t it? We can do so well in our Christian walk, we depend upon our Christian competencies rather than the Holy Spirit.
Was Jesus kidding? “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.” Come on, what does that mean? Certainly Jesus is speaking in metaphors, certainly Jesus is exaggerating, certainly Jesus means something else…..
In the city of Jerusalem there was supposed to be a very small gate in the city wall, large enough for a human to walk through, but not a camel. Apparently to get a camel through the gate, a camel would have to be unloaded, pushed through on its knees, and then loaded back up on the other side. The gate was known as the Eye of the Needle.
How many here have heard that explanation before? Fascinating explanation, but there is not a word of truth to it. A gate called Eye of the Needle has never been found in the wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem. The reason being, the gate called Eye of the Needle simply never existed.
We read a passage like this in the Bible and it seems fairly straight forward until we come to a verse like verse 25, “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.” And we say, “Wait that can’t be right, it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” Exactly. Jesus says what he means and means what he says.
Two old friends met one day after many years. One was very ambitious, and now was very successful. The other and never had much ambition to do anything.
The successful one said, "How has everything been going with you?"
"Well, one day I opened the Bible at random, and dropped my finger on a word and it was oil. So, I invested in oil, and boy, did the oil wells gush.
Then another day I dropped my finger on another word and it was gold. So, I invested in gold and those mines really produced. Now, I’m as rich as
The successful friend was so impressed that he rushed to his hotel, grabbed a Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger on a page.
He opened his eyes and his finger rested on the words, "Chapter Eleven."
So when Mark tells us the man was rich, what does he mean? I mean, how rich, is rich?
I heard the definition of being rich is making five more dollars a year that your sister-in-laws brother….apparently not a funny definition. (no one will laugh)
Rich for us means – more than I have.
For us here today, in terms of the ancient world, we are all rich – no matter how you slice it. In fact we could go a step further today and add your credit score to the mix. The man Jesus dealt with may have had some cash, but he didn’t have access to a Visa or MasterCard. Had did not have the potential buying power we have. When we look at this passage, we are the rich man.
The reason I start with verse 25, is that us as Americans, sometimes that is all we can see in this passage. Chances are, verse 25 was the verse that jumped out at you this morning when it was being read. Now though we focus on the man’s wealth, his wealth is not really his problem. Being rich or being poor is not an indicator of how spiritual you are.
You know there was a old man who was determined to take it with him when he died. He thought long and hard about how he could accomplish this. He had heavily invested in gold and since gold was mentioned in the bible often he figured this was the item that would work the best. According to his will, the gold bars was to be placed in a briefcase, placed upon his chest, with his arms holding the briefcase, while he was laying in the casket. All this was done according to his will.
After he died, he old man found himself in line at the pearly gates briefcase in hand. St Peter saw him holding the briefcase and pulled him out of line saying, “I’m sorry but we cannot allow anything to be brought into heaven, security concerns and all that.” But the man pleaded, he wasn’t any sort of security risk. So Peter relented saying, “Well, maybe this once, let’s see what you have in the briefcase”. So the old man eagerly opened the briefcase reveling the gold bars inside. “What’s this?” exclaimed Peter “You brought pavement!”
Though we may place a high emphasis on wealth, cash is not a problem in heaven.