Friday, August 5, 2016

Luke 18:24-27

Luke 18:24-27
And after seeing him, Jesus said, “How difficultly the ones who have riches enter into the kingdom of God!  For it is easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.  Then the ones who heard said, “And who is powerful enough to be saved?”  And He said, “The impossible in the presence of mankind is possible in the presence of God.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Jesus gives us His famous exclamation about camels and eyes of needles in this passage.  Many people debate if Jesus is speaking about a real needle or a really small gate in the walls of Jerusalem.  Personally, I think that such a debate honestly helps us miss His point.  The point is not whether we can explain scripture.  The point is that Jesus is telling us that people who have considerable wealth struggle to find God’s kingdom.  At this point, it is really prudent to remember that the vast majority of the people in the country from which I am writing are easily in the top 20% of the wealthiest people in the world.  Having a roof over one’s head, having running water, being able to purchase electricity and groceries is enough to make one wealthy from a global perspective.  We are all wealthy.  We must understand how difficult our wealth makes it for us to continually have our eyes upon God.

Where does your wealth and your possessions get in the way?  Why do we let wealth have such sway over us?

Second Thought:

I love the response of the people.  “Then who is powerful enough to be saved?”  The people don’t get it any more than the ruler got it.  We don’t save ourselves.  We cannot.  Nothing we do can save us.  It is God who saves us.  It is God’s righteousness that matters.  Our wealth, our status, our possessions are all temporal things that will eventually fade away.  What matters is God.

How easy is it for you to forget that we cannot save ourselves?  Why is this an important distinction to remember?

Third Thought:

I love how Jesus ends this section of scripture.  “The impossible in the presence of mankind is possible in the presence of God.”  In fact, an even more literal translation would say, “The impossible near mankind is possible near God.”  Yes, Jesus is getting us to realize that God is the difference-maker.  Jesus wants us to understand that God is all-powerful and we are not.  But at the same time, Jesus tells us this by using prepositions of proximity.  When our perspective is human, we cannot fathom and cannot accomplish difficult things.  But when our perspective is divine suddenly we can see things in a new light.  When our attitude and our actions are such that we are walking near to God, we will see answers and solutions that escaped us earlier.  Of course it is God’s power that makes all the difference.  But it is our proximity to God that makes it possible for us to have the ability to see Him opening the doors in the first place.

Are you near to God?  Have you ever experienced a change in perspective, and therefore a change in perception, by drawing nearer to God?  What does that feel like?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 18:28-30

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