Gospel Matthew 19: 23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
You have probably heard someone ask, “If your home were burning, what would you grab before leaving? Some people say they would grab their children and pets. Others would take their phone, wallet, or purse. Yet others would take documents like birth certificates, passports, or licenses. Even some would say they would take nothing but themselves and get out quickly. People, pets, things, so what is important to you? What is valuable to you?
Rich? What does rich mean? What did “rich” mean in Jesus’ time? What does it mean now?
“The social and economic policy of the Roman Empire could well be summarized in a phrase: 'the Roman system of inequality' “(Garnsey & Saller 1987:125). The number of people who owned land were very few and mostly Roman. In the area of Galilee, the majority of people were extremely poor and many farmed or raised animals for a landowner or were fishermen. If you were not a landowner and were rich, then you could have been provincial governor, a tax collector, or a money lender working for the Romans
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary today’s definition of “rich” has 7 different meanings. The first definition seems to describe a meaning similar to Jesus’ time from today’s frame of reference. 1: having abundant possessions and especially material wealth. A wealthy or rich person today will own more than one home, a lot of land, many expensive cars, maybe a yacht, a company, and a lot of money or precious metals. In short, a rich person would have more than he needs.
Jesus makes a statement and then follows it with an analogy to make His point clear to His audience. He explains that it will be difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And then He says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. The eye of the needle is a narrow gate that goes into Jerusalem. This gate was too narrow for the merchants to bring their camel through with all of their merchandise on them into the city. Therefore, they would have to unpack the camels and bring their merchandise through the gate and then squeeze the camel through. The point is that to get through the gate you can take nothing more than yourself or a camel without the merchandise. Jesus wants the people to know that they will have to leave all material things behind to enter into heaven.
If rich people are too attached to their wealth or abundance of things, then they will not be able to get through the gate into heaven. Their material things are more important than God. They need to make God the center and most important in their lives.
“Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
How can you get through the gate? Leave everything and follow Jesus. So,What is valuable to you?