Miracle Street

BIG STORY - Eye Of The Needle

April 13, 2021 Steve Lee
Miracle Street
BIG STORY - Eye Of The Needle
Show Notes Transcript

Jesus meets a man with money, youth and power on his side

Did you know that Jesus talked about money more times than Heaven and Hell combined? The Kingdom of God is the only thing he talked about more. Some people say “Get all you can, can all you get and then sit on the can” but Jesus said “Blessed are the poor, the first shall be the last and the greatest the least” This is the ‘Eye Of The Needle.

Jesus had many highly charged one-to-one conversations, let’s eavesdrop on one of them. A probing question came from a young guy on the streets of Jerusalem who apparently had a lot going for him. The Bible calls him the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ so he’s got money, youth and power not a bad combination let’s face it.

He wants Jesus to tell him how he can inherit eternal life and after a bit of small talk around the Ten Commandments the guy goes deeper and Jesus goes for the jugular “Sell everything you have” Jesus said “give the money away, follow me and you’ll have treasure in heaven” It didn’t go down great to be honest.

Reflecting on the Rich Young Ruler’s inner turmoil, Jesus said “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus used a lot of word pictures and illustrations but the one about the camel and the needle is pretty random, or maybe it isn’t.

For over 1,000 years people have insisted that the ‘Eye of the Needle’ was a small door built into the fortified perimeter of the ancient walled-city of Jerusalem. A door that was only opened once the main gates were locked for the night. Resembling some kind of ancient ‘stop and search’ procedure, a camel could only pass through the ‘Eye of the Needle’ by having its baggage removed and progressing forward on its knees. 

The well-heeled Rich Young Ruler comes at Jesus from a religious background. He has been following the rules like a ‘Good Jewish Boy' but it doesn’t seem to be working. He’s not a bad person he’s just got lost along the way. He’s developed a ‘heart condition’ so to speak.

Jesus wasn’t remotely interested in his bank balance or his possessions, the real issue was his treasure. Possessions are the things we buy with the money we get but treasure is the stuff of the heart. Mabe it’s OK for us to have money, but there’s a problem when money has us.

When Jesus referenced the ‘Eye of the Needle’ maybe both men knew exactly what it was, maybe they were even looking right at it. Whatever the truth is, the image of a huge desert beast being relieved of its cargo in order to progress on its knees is a very powerful one.

Choosing to follow Jesus means offloading the baggage, bowing low and passing through the turnstile into limitless life in relationship with the God who created us. One at a time, no family tickets, no day passes, no shortcuts. It’s the one way journey of humility through the Eye of the Needle.

Jesus said “Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many travel along it but narrow is the road that leads to eternal life and few find it” The Rich Young Ruler wanted a religious fix for his emptiness but Jesus showed him his net worth and his true worth were not the same thing. He didn’t need religion in his mind he needed God in his heart.