And Jesus said to his disciples, “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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:23-26 ESV
Jesus is our CREATOR! For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16) The book of Hebrews confirms this as well, it BEGINS with the basics! Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2) Not only did Jesus create man, and He also created language and he knows how to use language. I do not know how we could consider anyone a greater communicator, a greater orator than Jesus Himself, for HE IS THE WORD! See the book of John 1:1-14. Jesus knows His creation, not just man, but how to use the language that God created for man to interact with each other and to build relationship, family, community, and His church. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:6-9)
Leader, just as Jesus spoke in parables, he also used other tools in the arsenal of communication to make his point, and make it be remembered for Millennium! How many people gave speeches over the history of the world that are remembered thousands of years later? Not many! In this famous passage, Jesus used hyperbole, to point out that we can do absolutely nothing on our own to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Salvation comes through GRACE alone, through FAITH alone, in CHRIST ALONE! Hyperbole is a literary device used to draw emphasis through extreme exaggeration. Hyperbole is not meant to be taken literally, but rather understood as a means of communicating something specific. Hyperbole is a figure of speech, a communication tool that creates heightened effect through deliberate exaggeration. Hyperbole is often a boldly overstated or exaggerated claim or statement that ‘makes a point’, without the intention of being considered, LITERALLY true. IN order to understand this verse and any other in the Bible we must understand CONTEXT. Who was God talking to, what did, WHAT He said, mean back then? How does that meaning translate to us today and what does it mean to me specifically- this is how we properly study the Bible. What was the context of Jesus making this statement?
Conduit, the context for the hyperbole is that a rich young man approached Jesus and asked what it took to have eternal life (v16). Christ listed several of the Ten Commandments and the man answered that he had kept them from the time he was a boy (v17 – 20). The Lord then told him if he wanted to be perfect to sell all he owned, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow him! After hearing these words, the rich man went away sad. (v 21-22) Many people in Jesus day had the same poor theology that many have today: If God is happy with you, then you do well in wealth, happiness, and prosperity. If you are struggling, then you are a sinner and you are not pleasing to God. This is not only poor theology, but also anti-Biblical. “…For he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45) The Sadducees and Pharisees were the “ruling elite, and the financially blessed”. Sadducees often had acquired a great deal of wealth and held prominent positions in government and society. Pharisees were strict rule-followers and carried themselves with an air of significance, believing themselves to be more holy than the rest. What lessons shall we glean from this powerful word picture? First of all, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:21) Secondly, when we tend to be self-dependent- when we have wealth, fame, and the necessities of this existence. When we have no physical NEEDS, it is hard for us to realize our SPIRITUAL NEEDS. We become our own JEHOVAH JIREH, we sit on our throne! Lastly, Jesus is TO BE our PORTION, our Provision. We have all chosen to idolize something ahead of God. Relationships, riches, and even religion can fall under this umbrella. Without Jesus, we cannot make it to heaven. It does not matter how many Old Testament rules we have followed or how many times we have attended church, or WHICH CHURCH we attend. Camels have an easier time getting through needle eyes than we do getting to heaven on our own accord! Just like a camel will never get through the eye of a needle, Man cannot save himself, only the BLOOD OF JESUS can do that! With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.