Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 19:26
“And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
A rich young ruler came to Christ and asked Him what good He needed to do to attain eternal life. Jesus answered him saying, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“. Matthew 19:17. He was not telling him that salvation is attained by works, but He answered him based on what the Law said. He has not, at this time, died and paid the penalty, thus the reason as I understand it for His answer. He then listed a subset of the laws to follow. The young man then replies, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Matthew 19:20b. Jesus then responds with this, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21.
What Jesus was saying was that nothing can take precedence over Him. Salvation comes through giving up everything to follow Him. When the young ruler heard these words, he walked away because He could not place Jesus above his belongings. Then we read the following, “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24.
So, what was Jesus saying referring to camel through the eye of a needle? There are several thoughts on this, however, the most likely explanation is that it is a hyperbole. The Persians expressed the idea of impossibility by declaring that it would be easier for an elephant to go through the eye of a needle. The use of camel was a Jewish form of this phrase, using the largest animal in Israel, that being the camel. So, what Jesus was saying was simply it is seemingly impossible for a rich man to be saved because their riches mean so much to them. Few if any would be willing to give up everything for Him.
“When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?” Matthew 19:25. Then we come to our focus verse. “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
Man cannot save himself because it is impossible to be perfect. Jews believed that through sacrificing an animal to God, their sins would be removed. However, it is really through giving everything to God and following His Word and obeying His commands. “but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17b. However, we cannot keep them perfectly, Jesus, the Son of God, came here and lived that perfect life for us. And by doing so, and us accepting His work on the cross, we are justified, declared righteous. He said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17. He came to do what we could not and applied it to our situation if we believe in our hearts, mind, and lives. What a mighty and loving God we serve.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.