Making the Impossible Possible
During the three years that Jesus’ disciples followed him, he taught them some things which were difficult for them to accept. In fact, some of the things that Jesus taught shocked them. The same is true today for those who follow him.
In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus taught his disciples two of these things. The first was that divorce and remarriage is adultery. This shocks people today and there are very few who are willing to accept Jesus’ teaching on this. The second thing that Jesus taught them was that the love of riches makes it impossible for people to enter into the Kingdom of God.
In this chapter, we read the account of a rich young man who refused to follow Jesus because there was something more important to him than God himself. We are told that when this man turned away from Jesus, he did so sorrowfully.
I once was explaining to a pastor why I believed and lived by a certain difficult teaching of Jesus. His countenance became very sad as he told me that he also believed what I believed but that he would not follow Jesus’ teaching on it because of family and friends that it would offend. He turned away and was unwilling to speak with me about this again. Today he is preparing to turn his pastorate over to someone else due to an unusual and serious medical condition that he has acquired. This makes me very sad because what he is losing is of so much greater value than the “riches” which he has refused to give up.
After the rich man turned away from Jesus as recorded in Matthew chapter 19, he took this occasion to teach his disciples something very important but which they had trouble accepting. We read this in verses 23 through 26:
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, 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.”
The picture above does not do Jesus’ words justice because a needle is at least 100 times smaller compared to a camel than the needle shown in the picture. Jesus uses this example of an obvious physical impossibility to help us understand that the “hand of the heart” that clutches riches cannot reach out to Jesus Christ to be saved. The same holds true for those who would attempt to obey Christ in other ways while refusing to let go of the riches of the heart.
“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?”
If you or I had been there on that day would we not have been just as amazed?
Perhaps riches are keeping you from being saved or from obeying Christ today. We typically think of riches in terms of financial or physical property, and these are certainly forms of riches, but other things upon which we place great value are riches also. Riches can be the honor that you desire from others. They can be false religious practices or beliefs that you have grown very attached to. They can be your own ways of thinking that you have grown very fond of but which fly in the face of God’s word. Your riches can be people whom you hold more dear than God.
God does not require all of us who follow him to sell all that we own. But God does require each of us who desire to follow him to die to ourselves and have an “estate sale” within our heart of everything that we love more than God himself. In our own power this is as impossible as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. But let us hear what Jesus said next to his disciples:
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Praise God that when we take a step of faith and submission toward him he will begin to make the impossible possible! Not only that, but we find that doing his will from the heart brings much greater blessings than any of the riches that once seemed so dear to us.
God has made a promise to those who are willing to follow him above all else:
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
When we delight ourselves in the LORD, our desires will change to conform to his, and then he will give us those desires.
Will you experience the wonderful blessings of God or will you go away sad?
With God all things are possible.
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