February 24, 2008 – Matthew 19:24-30 – Jesus, the Rich Man and the Narrow Gate
The theme of the possible rising from the impossible presents itself to us today. Stricture births freedom, Jesus tells the rich man – and this is certainly true of human birth as we arrive into the world through a very narrow gate. It ought not to surprise us that we enter into the next world in the same manner. In the Zondervan ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (1594) there is an essay about the small door in the base of the large city gate that allowed admittance during the night. This door was sometimes referred to as the needle’e eye and a camel would have to bend to its knees to gain access, so that any traveler arriving at night would have to force his beast of burden onto its knees to enter by crawling. An impossible task for man . . . not for God.
How many times are we called to urge ourselves onto our knees in order to make a certain passage in life without losing our head? How often do we see a portal ahead in our path and believe that we can never squeeze ourselves through? How frequently are we stopped dead in our tracks by what looks like an insurmountable obstacle? Too many times to count . . . and this is why God walks with us. Our creator has known us since our inception and so can guide us according to our gifts and talents. Our redeemer has walked in our shoes and so understands the fears and anxieties we feel. Our in-dweller has accompanied not only us but all of creation into fullness and blooming and so sees not only the potential of our being but also our manner of fitting into the greater plan.
We are not alone as we approach these gates. These passages are meant to strip from us all of the unnecessary baggage we lug around. They are meant to purify and refine us into a quicksilver essence which finds immediate union with God. They are to be seen as impossible transitions which are made possible by God.
When we see a narrow gate looming, rather than tremble . . . we ought to smile. For the appearance of this needle’s eye of a passage tells us that our God is quite near . . . and that we have been good and loyal servants . . . in whom God is well pleased . . . and whom God trusts with this most important work. We ought not to shrink . . . but to move forward . . . for there is no going back.
“The Legend of the Needle’s Eye Gate.” ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Print.