“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:23-24
Wow, surely it is impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. So does this mean that only the poor go to heaven? As with nearly everything Jesus spoke there is a deeper meaning to draw from in these words that would have been obvious to the hearers of the time but can sometimes be lost on us today. You see at the time that Jesus spoke these words there was a wall around Jerusalem. This wall had a particularly small gate only large enough for a camel carrying a man and maybe a very few necessities to pass through. This was done so that invading armies could not rush through it with arms and supplies. When the bare camel and its rider passed through the tight squeeze of a gate it was known as “threading the eye of the needle“.
Now, when a man with great possessions came to this gate having his camel packed heavy with the wealth of this world, it was impossible for them to pass through the gate in this state. So then if the rider wanted to inter in, something had to happen. The rider had to get down, the camel had to be stripped down, and the extra baggage had to be laid down. Only then could the camel pass through the eye of the needle.
You see, the moral of the story is that you can’t inter into the Kingdom of God while being attached to your possessions. It was really about exposing the idols that we cling to while trying to pass through the straight an narrow gate that make it impossible for us to inter in. I think that for many there is a frustration as they try with all there might to get through that gate but keep ending up coming up against a brick wall because they haven’t yet laid down some idols.
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” – John 10:17
Let’s face it, we all have to lay things down to get in. Be it material things, emotional things, ideas, concepts, ambitions, relationships… whatever our baggage is and the idols that we carry in them must all be stripped off and laid down before we can inter in at the narrow way. This is why there are so few that find it, because so few are truly willing to lay down their idols so that they can pick up the cross.
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” – Matthew 7:14
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” – Luke 9:23-25