Here is a passage that might make us uncomfortable, since most people in Canada are rich by world standards. Jesus clearly indicates that it will be impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. But have you ever wondered why the disciples, mainly Galilean peasants who are not rich, ask Jesus, “Then who can be saved?”
In ancient times wealth was seen as a sign of God’s blessing, and poverty or misfortune as God’s punishment. Rich people were presumed righteous; poor people, sinners. In addition, only the rich could keep all the Jewish laws, to stay ritually clean, to avoid tasks involving blood, disease and death by paying others to do these tasks. So perhaps the disciples reasoned that if the rich can’t get into the kingdom, how could anyone?
Indeed, it is humanly impossible, as impossible as a camel going through the eye of a needle (verse 24). Perhaps Jesus is simply saying that no one can make their own way into the kingdom of heaven. It is never a matter of having enough money or doing the right things. It is always a gift of God’s grace, and for God, all things are possible.
Loving God, thank you for the gift of your grace and salvation. Amen. — JN