20th after Pentecost

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The Camel and the Eye of the
Or, why it is so hard for the rich to
get into heaven?
Poor rich man!
• How do you decide on the offering or charity
giving? 2, 5, or 10 % of what you made that
week, whatever you have in your wallet, the
same amount every week…
The Request
• Christ’s answer to the
young rich man is a
hard one: sell all that
you possess, give the
money to the poor
and then follow me.
• Who can do that?
• Who of us could do
It is pretty
impossible for a
real camel to get
through a real eye
of a needle
Either the
camel is too
big or the eye
of the needle
too small.
Thus, we
would need a
giant needle to
“cheat” a little.
Or we
have to
take a
Other Cheats
• Of course, this camel
from Picasso could
go through an eye of
a needle as a single
However, I wonder whether any cheat or
lawyer could get us past Peter!
Or did Jesus mean
something else?
• There was a gate in the wall of Jerusalem,
called the Eye of the Needle.
A special gate for nights
• At night the big gates were
closed for security reasons.
But there was a small gate,
just big enough for a single
man to get through. A camel
would have had difficulties to
get through this little gate.
Christ meant
something totally
• No matter what we try, big
needle, small camel, gate
in the wall, keep all
commandments, give all
your possessions to the
poor… We cannot get into
heaven by our own doing.
It is impossible!
We need help!
• Truth is,
Christ we
will not get
into heaven.
“For mortals
but for God
all things are
We cannot do anything
• The young man appeared to be a good
god-fearing man. He had tried to live
according to the law. However, the law
is more than letters. The intentions of
the heart are important. Hebrews says:
“[The word of God] is able to judge the
thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
We will never be good in God’s eyes.
Christ told him right at the beginning:
“No one is good but God alone.”
The “eye of the needle” is
not just the possessions the
young man owned.
• If he gave his possessions only
to get into heaven, it would be a
selfish act. Paul says in 1st
Corinthians 13:3 “If I give away
all my possessions, and if I hand
over my body so that I may
boast, but do not have love, I
gain nothing.”
There is a different way to heaven!
• In actual fact this story
teaches us that we cannot
get into heaven through
• We cannot earn our ticket
to heaven!
Grace makes things possible
• Eph 2:4,5, 8-10 (NIV) But because of his great
love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us
alive with Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions--it is by grace you have been
saved. For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is
the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can
boast. For we are God's workmanship, created
in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do.
We’ve got it already!
• We need to trust the promise
that in Christ we have access
to God’s Kingdom already,
independent from our own
doing. If we can trust this
promise, we don’t need to hold
fearfully on to our possessions,
to our “life insurance.” Christ is
our new life insurance. Thus,
we can leave everything behind
and follow him, without actually
losing anything.
• Let us therefore
approach the
throne of grace
with boldness, so
that we may
receive mercy
and find grace to
help in time of
need. (Hebrews
Let us sing : 494 Jesus Calls Us, O’er the Tumult
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