The Eye Of The Needle

Q. I remember being told that in Jerusalem there was a passage between two walls of the city that was referred to as the eye of the needle. It was very difficult for a camel to go thru and hence the words from Christ that it was easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This was a reference to that area in between the walls and the people understood that it would be difficult but certainly not impossible. Have you heard of this?

A. Over the years I’ve come across several opinions on what the Lord really meant by the eye of the needle comparison. All of them have tried to moderate the degree of difficulty rich people have in getting into heaven by making the eye of the needle symbolic of something else.

But the Lord’s statement came on the heels of His discussion with the rich young man. He went away sad because the Lord had exposed his over riding love of wealth. It was so strong that he couldn’t sell his possessions even if it kept him out of the Kingdom (Mark 10:17-24).

After the Lord’s gave His “eye of a needle” illustration (Mark 10:25) Peter asked who could possibly be saved because the Jews believed that wealth was a reward for righteousness. The Lord answered that while salvation was impossible for man, it was not impossible for God. All things are possible for God. (Mark 10:27)

I think the Lord had a literal needle and a literal camel in mind to show that it’s literally impossible for even a righteous rich man to get himself into the Kingdom. Only the Lord can do it. It was as vivid a picture of His Grace as you’ll find anywhere in Scripture.

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