From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 10:25-27

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”                     NKJV

This is one of the most commonly misinterpreted passages of scripture in the entire Bible.  The “eye of the needle” is frequently interpreted as a small gate in the Jerusalem wall through which a camel could pass only with great difficulty.  However, there are four problems with this interpretation.

First, there is no evidence that such a gate ever existed.  Second, it would have been incredibly stupid of an architect to design such a gate.  Third, the Greek word translated “needle” is rhaphis” which literally means “to sew.”  One does not “sew” with a gate in the Jerusalem wall.  Fourth and finally, the disciples clearly did not understand Jesus to mean that it was “difficult” for a rich man to be saved.  They understood Jesus to mean that just as it is “impossible” for a camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle, it is also “impossible” for a rich man to be saved.  This is seen in their response, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus answer is that no one can, of themselves, be saved.  As Jonah 2:9 declares, “Salvation is of the Lord.”  It is not a problem for God to pass a camel through the eye of a sewing needle.  He can break the camel down to its subatomic particles and pass it through atom by atom if He so chooses.  After all, He is the omnipotent One who created the camel to begin with.  Likewise, salvation is a miraculous work of God’s grace and only He can save a soul (Eph. 2:1-10, II Cor. 4:6, Rom. 8:29-39).

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