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

Saturday, September 11, 2021

[After the rich young man left rather than sell his possessions and follow Jesus,] Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I'll say it again — 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 NLT

Key Thought

The radical nature of Jesus' words is indicated by two attempts through the years to soften them. Some later translations of this passage have "rope" instead of "camel." (The two words 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 on our ability, but on God's generous grace. 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 things we cannot give up to follow Jesus. From our vantage point, following Jesus' radical call is impossible. Fortunately, God has provided the Holy Spirit and fellow-Christians. We all need the guidance of the Spirit and the strength of a dedicated Christian community to yield to Jesus' call in all areas of our lives, including using our wealth and possessions to serve others.

Today's Prayer

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

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-11
  • Philippians 4:11-13
  • Luke 8:7, 14


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Illustration of Matthew 19:23-24 NLT —  I'll say it again — 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!

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.