One of the greatest miracles of all miracles could have been intangible but the impact is of eternal value and life changing.
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)
Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For 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.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:24-27)
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:23-27)
The context of Jesus’ statement was in references to the rich young man who turns away from following Jesus, but there are reasons beyond wealth and riches.
The same man who turns away first took the initiative and went to Jesus asking “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).
It was a matter of whom and what do you trust to attain eternal life. What do you think are the guarantees of achieving eternal life? So it was not just the material wealth that was stopping him following Jesus, it was his opinion and belief, his choice of guarantee for eternal life.
We can go round the world and know for certain that one of those impossible things for Man to accomplish is to change opinion. People can have very deep thoughts about what they actually believed; only God can deal with that.
We may learn to put up a false front and hide our inner most thoughts but the Holy Spirit searches our hearts and the words of God’s truth prick our conscience. In the light and presence of God’s word we have to testify to the truth, will we receive or reject Jesus Christ as the source of eternal life?
Some people will choose to die in their own stubbornness. We have the example of Pharaoh being one of them when confronted by Moses. A life and death ultimatum to be learnt and never forgotten about Pharaoh’s encounter with God through Moses – Pharaoh’s stubbornness was not just self-destructive but killed those who were under his influences as well. We must learn not to hinder the will of God least we hinder others from receiving the blessing of God.
People have opinions and humans are proud of materials achievement which seems to provide a sense of recognition. It is not just about the outward show of materialism but our human concept of security and life value.
As part of the human race we have made every attempt to reach beyond our own physical limitations to proof ourselves. In terms of material and body achievement, Man have scaled high peaks of the Himalayas, crossed the English Channel, drop the highest skydive from the stratosphere, and yet again new records will be set. Man was created with the potential to break boundaries, therefore with resources allowances; there seem to be no ends to what we can accomplish both as an individual and collectively.
Man have now embarked on one of the most challenging inspiration based on science, technology and exploration – to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars, the Mars One project – an attempt to reconstruct Genesis’ account of Adam and Eve on Mars? What will we do next?
In comparison to material achievement, just how difficult can it be for Man to change opinion / position?
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”(Luke 18:27)
There will be things which are impossible for Man, one of which is to change our belief. It is impossible for Man to be willingly convicted by God without the words of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit. Thus it is impossible for a person to confess “Jesus is Lord and saviour” without the help of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s word.
There have been endless theological and scholarly debates about this ‘a camel to go through the eye of a needle’ – preachers and scholars had gone to great extend to define and re-define what that camel and that needle could be allegories of. People are still discussing about it. In fact pastors and preachers had tried to deal with the topic of camel and needle to the extend we forgot who said that! So the camel and needle becomes the main subject instead of Jesus!
Let’s say we take it straight from Jesus’ speech – all we need to do is go to a needle factory and custom order a needle that is so huge, a Guinness World Records, big enough for ‘a camel to go through the eye of a needle’. Problem solved, once and for all! Let’s move on from here and remember what Jesus actually wanted to teach to His disciples.
It is easier to make a camel obey your instructions and walk through that eye of the needle than to change people’s opinion. ‘What is impossible with man’ and that’s why we use the following words on people – stubborn, stiff-necked, bull-headed, adamant, and rebellious.
Read the Gospels again and you will see and understand, for all the miracles and proof Jesus presented there were still groups of people who willingly refused Jesus as the Messiah. The chief priests even went to the extent of fabricating lies that the body of Jesus was stolen from the tomb. People’s heart can be so hard that they will even enforce themselves “must not believe”! These were the people who rejected themselves to enter the kingdom of God and at the same time hindered others from receiving the eternal life of Jesus Christ.
We need the truth of God’s word and the Holy Spirit to do the impossible –
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11)
In the passage of John 16, Jesus was referring to the works of the Holy Spirit.
Our human eyes are easily attracted to what we can see on the outside and we missed those important issues within our hearts. The Spirit of God works within our hearts and souls that we may tune-in to God’s truth. From the days of Genesis God had not stopped to work. The Spirit of God is searching for hearts and souls who are sensitive and open to receive the salvation of God.
Jesus is working, our Father in heaven is working, and the Holy Spirit is working as well.
Let’s join our hearts together with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit in believing and continuing to believe, and to bear witness of our belief and confident in God to the world.
Let’s continue to bear witness to the truth and salvation of Jesus.
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)
We need the light of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to work this miracle in our live, to believe in God and walk in repentance.
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