I have never tried to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle, but I’m pretty much with the disciples in thinking that is an impossible task (Mark 10:26). Mark 10:17-31 relays to us the story of a man with great riches who found it impossible to obey Christ’s command. This man is in contrast to the young children of verse 15. Man must receive the kingdom as a child, but this rich man did no such thing.
We are not much different from this rich man. Americans are all rich in the grand scheme of history, and we all have this “rich man’s syndrome”. We are all born dead in our sins unwilling to bow before the throne of Christ submitting to His will. Contrary to popular belief this is a major problem. Through the power and ability of man, nobody can be saved from the coming wrath of God, but with God all things are possible.
Consider where Mark 10 falls in the story of Christ. He is on His way to Jerusalem (to take the punishment for the sins of His people) even though the disciples do not know it yet. He is asking this man with great possessions to give all he has up for the benefit of the poor. Jesus knows this is impossible, and that even if it were possible, the selling of riches would not atone for past sins. Why would Christ say this? This message highlights what Christ is in the process of doing.
He is not taking hold of His rightful position as King of all creation, but has taken on flesh in humility and received punishment. He is doing what He tasked this rich man with doing on an infinitely greater scale. The good news is that this man’s inability to save himself through his own actions reveals his and our need of a savior, and Jesus is that savior. Repent, believe, and rest for the salvation of God is not brought about by the actions of man. It is a gift from the one to whom nothing is impossible.