The Young Man & His Wealth Part 2
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:23-32
Jesus turns to his disciples for a teaching moment. The wealthy young man has just walked away, distraught. Jesus has to ask the question twice: “How difficult is it for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God?” Note: Jesus calls them “children” in the second ask, and we don’t know if this is affection or a barb.
Then he follows up with a strange statement: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” We picture a dromedary trying to pass through a sewing needle. In other words, this is impossible from a worldly or human perspective. The disciples follow up by asking if it is possible for anybody can be saved. Jesus answers that only God can do it. A very Calvinist or Lutheran answer coming from Jesus; “Grace alone.”
Peter points out to Jesus that they have left everything to follow him, contrasting the young man who walked away. Jesus says they will be rewarded for their choice to forego these things for the sake of him and the good news. Notice the word that slips in and doesn’t seem to fit all the other rewards: persecution. This out-of-place word may be a future warning by Jesus, an insertion by Mark about the context he is writing in, or both. I favor both.
It is a hard life to follow Jesus, but it definitely has its rewards!
It’s a hard knocks life for us! But well worth it in the end. Thank you for paving the way for us to follow.
I pray in the name of the Christ. Amen!