Devotional – Matthew 19

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The words of Jesus astonished the disciples because the common belief at the time connected material wealth to the blessings of God which he only to the righteous or to put in another way, God blesses those whom he is saving. But Jesus turns that thinking on its head through the outrageous illustration of a camel going through the eye of a needle, by which Jesus means a literal eye of a needle. So through absurdity Jesus explains that salvation is impossible and it his point came across loud and clear as the disciples say with astonishment – who can be saved? The reality is that no one can be saved on their one. No one can merit God’s grace. But as Jesus makes clear here, that the impossibility of man’s salvation of himself is possible with God for he is the one who imparts salvation to whom he will. Because salvation is a gift given by God he decides to whom he will impart his grace and mercy, not based on anything they have done or will do, but because of his desire. He gives mercy to overlook our sins, he gives grace to impart salvation, he provides the faith we need to believe, he grants us the gift of repentance that we might turn to him, he opens our eyes that we might see his glory in the face of Christ, he removes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh, and he gives us the Spirit of God as a guarantee of our salvation. So then our salvation is the work of God from beginning to end and there was nothing we contributed to make it happen. So with humble praise let us be grateful that God did the impossible, or in his case, the possible, and brought to us the wonderful gift of salvation in Christ.

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