Possible [Devotion]

Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18 all record the account of the rich young man who came to see Jesus. Most of us are likely familiar enough with the story for me to summarize.

RICH DUDE: Sup Jesus? I’m pretty awesome. I’ve kept all the commandments. But what else do I need to do for eternal life?

JESUS: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21)

RICH DUDE: Not cool bro. I really like my stuff.

Forgive the tongue and cheek but what I want to focus on happens after the rich young man leaves. Jesus turns to His disciples and says “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.” All three of the accounts record what the disciples say back to Him but I love how Mark prefaces it, “And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’“ (Mark 10:26, emphasis added). The reason Jesus’ disciples were astonished is they came from a culture that taught earthly wealth (at least among the Jews) was tied to righteousness and favor with God. Essentially the idea was that if you were holy you’d be wealthy because God would like you better. So when Jesus says it’s more possible for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven Jesus has shocked his listeners.

Many have suggested that the eye of the needle He’s referring to is actually a small gate in Jerusalem that camels would have to crawl through. But there is no evidence of such a gate ever existing in Jerusalem. Indeed the idea seems to have cropped up in the 15th century (though possibly as early as the 9th). My understanding is a little more direct… it’s a literal camel and a literal needle. Which makes it impossible. It is impossible for a rich man to save himself (it’s impossible for any man to save himself!).

But the next thing Jesus says, seems to me the point. “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Anyone with a correct understanding of scripture knows that man cannot save himself but that, through the power of God, sinful men are saved by faith in ChrisT. With man not possible. With God very possible.

Now I know that this verse, “For all things are possible with God,” is often over quoted and even misquoted. So I’m not saying that this verse somehow magically means God will make this film for me and everything will turn out the way I want it. But what I am saying is that God has already done something far more impossible than this movie… He saved my soul. There is no greater miracle that He could do in my life! And this is the God I serve. If this film is in His will it doesn’t matter how impossible it is for me because the God who can cleanse the hearts of traitorous sinners can make a movie without breaking a sweat. So I will labor on in the best that I am able knowing that God will work His wonders and whatever they are they are what should be!