Day Twenty-six: Monday, March 12

Mark 10: 17-31

As Jesus was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one—God.You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not give false testimony,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.’ ”

He said to him, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.”

Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.”

But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions. Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into God’s Kingdom! It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”

They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus, looking at them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God.”

Peter began to tell him, “Behold, we have left all, and have followed you.”

Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time: houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life .But many who are first will be last; and the last first.”

The illustration of the camel through the needle’s eye shows it is utterly impossible. As the church has struggled with this difficult text through the centuries…explanations have been developed attempting to make it easier to live with…According to a medieval legend that was a tiny gate in the Jerusalem wall called the Needle’s Eye. It was too small for loaded camels to pass through, unless they were unloaded of their burdens, got down on their knees, and tried really hard. While it makes a good (but unbiblical) sermon, it misses the point of the story, which is not that it is hard for a rich person to get into the kingdom, but that it is impossible. Jesus clearly reached for the most extreme illustration of impossibility, and the disciples got the point. In any case, the gate never existed in the wall of Jerusalem—only in interpretation of this passage. This is an illustration of the Markan theme of the impossible possibility: what is impossible for humans is possible with God. This is the Pauline doctrine of salvation: it is impossible for humans, even the best of us, but God, who creates out of nothing, justifies the ungodly, and raises the dead, can save the best of us as well as the worst.
(M. Eugene Boring andFred B. Craddock, The People’s New Testament Commentary, p. 150, 151)

Day Twenty-seven: Tuesday, March 13
Day Twenty-five: Sunday, March 11