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Of Camels and Rich Men

Mark 10:25

Hebrews 4:12 says "the Word is . . . a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." If that is true about the written Word of God, it is equally true about the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. On numerous occasions, the four Gospels give evidence of Jesus knowing what was in the heart of those He encountered (Matthew 9:4; John 1:42, 47; 2:24-25; 6:61, 64; 13:11).

When a wealthy young man approached Jesus to inquire about the requirements for eternal life, He knew the young man wrestled with a specific problem: His wealth. He was afraid of letting go of that which gave him security. When he proved to Jesus that he was a keeper of God's laws, Jesus tested him concerning his wealth: "Sell whatever you have and give to the poor" (Mark 10:21). If he would do that, he would have "treasure in heaven." But the young man walked away, unwilling to be separated from his money (verse 22).

Jesus then said something that caused His disciples to react with astonishment: It is hard to enter the kingdom of God (verse 24)—especially if you are wealthy (verse 23). The disciples weren't reacting negatively to the idea that the kingdom of God was difficult to enter (Luke 13:22-24; 14:26-27; see also Acts 14:22). They were reacting to the idea that it was harder for rich people. After all, some of Jesus' followers were people of means (Matthew 27:55, 57).

Jesus' point was not about money; it was about trust. You can't trust in God and money at the same time (Matthew 6:24). He used the largest animal in Israel (the camel) and the smallest opening (the eye of a needle) to make a serious point: A camel will go through a needle's eye sooner than a person who trusts in wealth will enter the kingdom of God (verse 25).

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