What Jesus Did! 'Easier for a Camel?' — Matthew 19:23-24

Monday, September 11, 2017

Then Jesus said to his followers, "I tell you the truth. It will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you that 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 19:23-24
Illustration of Matthew 19:23-24 —  Yes, I tell you that 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.

Key Thought

The radical nature of Jesus' words is found in two attempts through the years to soften them. Some later texts of this passage have "rope" instead of "camel" (they look and sound somewhat similar in the original Greek). Later speculation led to the myth of a gate in the walls of Jerusalem called "The Needle's Eye." Neither of these is true. Both, however, reveal how hard it is for an affluent culture to hear the radical demand of Jesus' words. Jesus is emphatic: it is extremely difficult for the rich to embrace the radical call of discipleship in the Kingdom of God. But, salvation does not depend upon our ability, but God's generous grace. From our vantage point it is impossible. The key point for us, however, is to be reminded about the dangers of wealth and possessions. They can become our God, our stumbling block, our choking point, our diversion, and our downfall if they become the thing we cannot give up to follow Jesus.

Today's Prayer

Only living and almighty God, I want to worship you today with my will, my words, and wealth. Please help me to use the incredible blessings you have poured into my life for your glory and the blessings of others. In the name of Jesus, the greatest of all gifts, I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so that Jesus could put his hands on them and pray for them. When the followers saw this, they told the people to stop bringing their children to Jesus. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people that are like these children." After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there. A man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to have life forever?" Jesus answered, "Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have life forever, obey the commands." The man asked, "Which commands?" Jesus answered, "'You must not murder anyone, you must not do the sin of adultery, you must not steal anything, you must not tell lies about other people, you must honor (respect) your father and mother,' and 'you must love other people the same as you love yourself.' " The young man said, "I have obeyed all these things. What else do I need?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all the things you own. Give the money to the poor people. If you do this, you will have a rich treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me!" But when the man heard this, he was very sad. The man was very rich {and wanted to keep his money}. So he left Jesus. Then Jesus said to his followers, "I tell you the truth. It will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you that 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." When the followers heard this, they were very surprised. They asked, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at his followers and said, "This is something that people cannot do themselves. But God can do all things." Peter said to Jesus, "We left everything we had and followed you. So what will we have?" Jesus said to the followers, "I tell you the truth. When the new world is made, the Son of Man willsit on his great throne. And all of you that followed me will also sit on thrones. You will sit on twelve thrones and you will judge the twelve family groups of Israel. And every person that has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms to follow me will get much more than he left. And that person will have life forever. Many people that have the highest place in life now will have the lowest place in the future. And many people that have the lowest place now will have the highest place in the future.

Matthew 19:13-30

Some seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the good plants from growing. What is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That is like the people that hear God's teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life stop them from growing. So they never make good fruit.

Luke 8:7, 14

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.