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Voice of the Lord

It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 19.23-24).

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The "needle's eye" was not a small gate in Jerusalem's walls, as many teach. No such gate by that name existed, and this interpretation first appeared during the Middle Ages. It is far more likely that Yeshua was using a well-known teaching technique to make his point. He chose for his image the largest animal known in the Land of Israel (the camel) and the smallest opening in any man-made object of that time (the needle). By combining them, he demonstrated that "humanly, this is impossible" (Matthew 19:26).

But he may have also been referring to a Midrash (traditional commentary). In the Midrash on Song of Solomon we find this interesting parallel: Rabbi Jassa said, "The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: 'My sons, present to me an opening of repentance no bigger than the eye of a needle, and I will widen it into openings through which wagons and carriages can pass'" (Midrash on the Song of Solomon 5:2).

According to the Midrash, "repentance" is the meaning of the needle's eye. Without it, we cannot see the Kingdom of God nor continue to enjoy its blessings. Our part is very small, and in fact we are not even able to repent as we should. But if we will turn to God in repentance, he is there to broaden the way for us, no matter what our situation may be.

...ask the Lord to help me overcome those "impossible" sins, which I cannot defeat with my own strength.


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright © 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 21st, 2017
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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