A rich man’s question – What did Jesus say about the Rich?
Matthew 19:16-24 (CEB)
16 A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”
17 Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.”
18 The man said, “Which ones?”
Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. 19 Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
20 The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?”
21 Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
Teaching about giving up things
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”
In Luke 18:18-23:20
The Rich and the Kingdom of God.
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Of course you cannot literally fit a camel through a needle’s eye. Some scholars reveal that Jesus was referring to a small gate in old Jerusalem, which was called the “Needle’s Eye”. The gate was part of the much larger gate through which people and animals entered the great city during the daytime. At night however, the larger gate was closed, but entry could still be gained through the much smaller Needle’s Eye. Much like a cat door, though larger. For a camel which was loaded down with baggage, ie: possessions, it would have to be unloaded of all that it carried and indeed possessed in order to fit through the small gate. It would also have to crawl through on its knees, which represents a posture of supplication in order to enter the Holy City.
Jesus’ explanation was simply a metaphor referring to the banishing of one’s worldly goods in order to enter the Kingdom of God. There is no archaeological evidence that the gate ever existed, but if we focus solely on the last paragraph here: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” we can easily determine that with God in your life rather than riches, you can enter his kingdom.