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Jesus was not really saying that we have to give away everything we own to have eternal life.  For a different young man with a different set of circumstances he may have suggested something different.  Jesus needed to know what the young man loved most, and his request was a simple but effective test.

The disciples were amazed.  If this young man could not get into heaven, who could?  Like most of us, they were impressed by what they saw on the outside.  In fact, their culture taught them that wealth was a sure sign of God’s blessing.

But God is interested in our hearts, and so Jesus said something that seemed very odd to them, and even to us.  He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, a startling image to say the least.  

If a rich man cannot get into heaven, who then can be saved, the disciples asked.  That’s when Jesus said, “for mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”  And then He began to explain what the kingdom of God is really like, a place where “the first will be last”  [Matthew 20:16].

What Jesus promises is God’s help for difficult things:  not just physically difficult things, like going through the eye of a needle, but emotionally and spiritually difficult challenges as well.  Sometimes it is hard to know God, or love God, or believe God.  But He can and does give us what we need to do just that.  Because with God, nothing is impossible.


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