1. The dangers that face the rich are real and terrible, so the warning must be real and truthful.
· The fact: wealth pulls a person from the kingdom of heaven (v.23)
· The great difficulty illustrated: it is easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. (v.24)
· The Shock: who is saved if wealth is not God’s blessing and a blessing of righteousness (v.25)
· The only hope for the rich (v.26)
2. Who are rich? The rich are any of us who have anything beyond what we need. What Christ demands is that we give all that we are and have to meet the needs of those in such desperate need, holding back nothing. We do not take the message of Christ seriously. The evidence of our unbelief is seen in Christ’s insistence that we give all we have to feed the hungry and meet the desperate needs of the world and yet we do not do it.
3. Riches- Camel- Needle: There are various interpretations given to understand this analogy.
Some have said that the ‘needle’ was a small gate in the wall surrounding Jerusalem, a small gate which sat right beside the large gate. At night the large gate was closed to prevent the enemies from entering the city and the small gate was used by the travelling public. The small gate is said to have been called ‘the Needle’s eye’ because it was so small that it was difficult for even a single person to pass through.
· Others have said that the Greek word Christ used was kamilos (a ship’s rope or cable) not kamelos(camel)
· It is evident that Jesus uses a proverbial saying for an impossibility of some things. The camel was the largest animal among the Jews, so Christ either used a well known proverb or created a new one.
4. There are examples of rich persons who did turn to Christ. They serve as excellent examples for the rich to follow in turning to God
· James and John (Mk 1:20)
· Matthew (Mt 9:9-13)
· Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10)
· Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27: 57)
· Nicodemus (Jn 20: 39)
· Lydia (Acts 16: 14-15)
· Manaen, a foster brother of Herod, who was probably wealthy (Acts 13:1)
5. Peter’s question: It would have been very easy for Jesus to dismiss Peter’s question with an impatient rebuke. It was a wrong question. To but it bluntly, Peter was asking: What do we get out of following you? Jesus answers Peter by laying down three great laws of Christian life
· It is always true that those who share Christ’s campaign will share Christ’s victory (positions do not matter but the attitude)
· It is always true that Christians, will receive far more that they ever have to give up; but what they receive is not material possession, but a new fellowship, human and divine.
· God’s standards of judgment are not according human standards.
We might often enter into the illusion thinking that this passage is not for us just because we might be undergoing some financial crisis or difficulties. One might be struggling hard to buy a car to keep up the standard and still can claim that he/she is not rich because of the struggle involved. The term rich is a relative term. If we have all the basic needs fulfilled we are already rich and we have the obligation to reach out the poor and those who are in need. In a sense Christ’s warning is for all of us, and it calls for generosity of heart and willingness to share. This will not easily come to us unless we have the real love for Christ and for our neighbours.
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible