23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 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. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
This is so clear that only a scholar could confuse it. The eye of a needle is the eye of a needle. It’s impossible to get through it but with God nothing is impossible. We are NOT talking like so many liberal scholars insist about a small door that a camel has to crawl through after having its burden offloaded. Quit trying to impress people with your brilliance and read what it says. There is no difference between the fundamentalist or the liberal scholar in this. Both love to add to God’s words to elevate their own intellect.
The application here is that you, if you have riches, will trust in those riches, not God.
1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
If you have swallowed the baloney about a “needle gate” then notice that “with men it is impossible”. It is not impossible for the proverbial camel to crawl through the proverbial needle gate after his burdens have been offloaded. It is a miracle for a rich man to get saved.
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
Peter’s looking for a return on what he has done for Christ. I can see some fundamentalists now in whatever ministry, either paid or not paid, sitting around chewing the fat with their friends. “I’ve sacrificed my whole life for Christ. I’ve done things He never asked me to do that came from my own self-glorying, vanity, and self-righteousness. I’ve ignored the things He commanded me to do for the poor, the weak, and the helpless. I’ve majored in the minors and minored in the majors. There isn’t any weighty theological problem that I haven’t considered absolutely irrelevant. God sure was lucky to have me on his team. I can’t wait to see my rewards.”
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Your ultimate reward for trusting in Christ as your Lord, believing in His resurrection, and trusting in His righteousness is eternal life. ‘Nuff said.
The Christian has thousands upon thousands of houses to worship in, thousands and thousands of older women in Christ he or she can think of as a mother (1st Timothy 5:2), brothers and sisters in Christ innumerable, children he begat in the Lord (1st and 2nd Timothy 1:2), and the entire universe is their possession with Christ. The Christian is also going to have persecutions, though, because the world hates the Christ of the Bible. But, in the world to come he or she will live forever with Christ.
31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
Peter is warned that those who think they are the first and foremost may find themselves the hindermost. And those humble Christians who expected very little but were just glad to have Christ will find themselves in a preeminent position. Way too many are legends in their own mind. Way too many.
We started with a rich man who was a good Jew. He was just like a good American. He always tried to do the right thing. But, he loved his money too much to follow Christ. We get to Peter who is like a good American Christian, giving it all up to follow Christ, he says. What’s he going to get, he wonders? What are his crowns or rewards? Christ reminds him of the abundance he can already claim but ends with a warning. A lot of people who think they are all that and a bag of chips will be carrying the water for humble people who are thankful and ask for no more reward than the bounty they’ve been given.