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A rich young man had just walked away from Jesus. When that happened, Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19.23-24).
There are several explanations that try to soften Jesus’ image of a camel going through the eye of a needle. For example, a popular one speaks about a gate in Jerusalem through which camels have to crawl to enter the city.
However, explanations like that one miss the point of Jesus’ obvious exaggerated parable. The response of the disciples express shock at Jesus’ words. They said, “Then who can be saved?” (Matthew 19.25).
When Jesus answered his followers, he made it clear that there are some things that only God can make possible. He said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19.26).
Impossible Made Possible
What a thought! “With God all things are possible.” Here is a list of impossible situations that God made possible.
— A very rich man in the church I served before coming to Maywood Baptist Church was also one of the most humble servants of Jesus in the city. He had integrity. He served the church and other people. He didn’t flaunt his wealth, but covered it up with a modest lifestyle.
This man was a “camel” who was able to go through the eye of a needle by the amazing grace and power of God.
— A friend with seven felonies told the police the last time they arrested him, “You didn’t arrest me. You rescued me.” He has been a dynamic Sunday School teacher at Maywood Baptist Church for several years. He is a great husband and father.
I expect many people counted him out, when addiction and crime had a hold on his life. Jesus had other plans. He took hold of his heart and is giving him a full life worth living.
— A woman was on the brink of death as a result of her addiction. Jesus healed her body, gave her a super husband and a beautiful child. He turned what seemed impossible into something beautiful.
— I first met this man at a breakfast for homeless persons. God’s love turned his situation into one where he is now well employed, married to a wonderful lady, driving his own car and is a beautiful testimony of God’s amazing love and power.
— I visited with very successful inventor, who despite his great abilities believed that he no future. He walked to the middle of a bridge in San Diego California with the intent of ending his life by jumping. His life was impossible to him, but completely possible to God.
In that moment, Jesus spoke to his heart and said, “Don’t kill yourself. Give yourself to me.” He left the bridge and found the first AA hall he could find. Next, he found a church. This man is using his gift of creativity to provide water purification for countries where water is scarce and polluted.
— According to Paul, we all were in an impossible situation because of our sin. He wrote, “You were dead through the trespasses and sins . . . But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2.1, 4-5).
Praise God, he turned our impossible into the possible, resulting in the best life possible for now and eternal life in the future.
By the grace of God, we are members of the family of people who follow Jesus. Peter asked Jesus a question that involves us, too. He said, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (Matthew 19.27).
Jesus answered Peter with good news that reaches all the way to people like us. He said, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (Matthew 19.28-30).
God, who has turned our impossible lives into all that is possible through him, wants to bless us throughout eternity. Only God knows what it means to “sit on thrones,” but it hints of meaningful activity.
I think we can safely expect to be busy, productive, creative, and joyful in heaven. Heaven will never become boring. One amazing gift of God’s turning our impossible lives into possible new creations will be the everlasting joy of all of God’s plans and purposes for us being realized in eternity.
In the words of Brian English, “Praise Jesus!”
Dear Jesus, we thank you today for the many people we know that were once counted out, but not by you. Thank you for working your magnificent grace in their lives and giving them abundant life. Thank you for the cross and resurrection, and for bringing us from spiritual death to the fullness of life. Thank you for our future heavenly home. We praise you today!