The reality of "The Needle's Eye" even in the 21st century

by Kowou Kowou
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)

Eye of the Needle Door in Jerusalem

Eye of the Needle Door in Jerusalem

Comment on: The Eye of the Needle.

Whether a narrow gate in Israel or an actual needle of our time, Jesus' assertion that a rich person will hardly make the kingdom of God remains consistent.

The discomfort, challenges and/or inconveniences that was involve with anyone determined to enter through the gate,especially in this case the rich young man, remains the same for majority of the rich even in 21st century who may still not be willing to separate themselves from either the principles that made them rich or the riches itself.

On the other hand, if the 21st century needle comes in context, it still doesn't change anything. The concentration, dedication, patience and submission it takes to successfully pass a thread through the "eye of the sewing needle" is still similar to what it would have require to go through the gate with a Camel, where one had to strip the Carmel of everything it was carrying before carefully guarding it through the gate. The same thing is require of one who wishes to attain the kingdom of God in the context of what Jesus was saying.

The two conditions stated above seems interchangeable in any case where a speaker would like to present the idea of submission and great sacrifice anyone wanting to obtain the kingdom of God will have to face, especially, in this case, "the rich".

The implications: Riches, in many cases comes with hard work dedication, sacrifices, determination, some level of ego/pride, prestige and a lifestyle that is formed in the attempt to become rich (the time factor). All these are not attributes or characteristics that can easily be divorced by anyone. And even if it is likely to happen, it may not be in a few days..

In contrast, the reality of the kingdom of God as Jesus presents it, demands a decision making that clearly shows a 180° turn around from the state we are in when we encounter the gospel. The transformation is ultimate but may take some time or may be immediate. In any case, one is require to gradually conformation to kingdom standards. This, in the case of a rich person will include separation from physical, social and personal wealth in many cases.

Conclusion: The demands of the kingdom of God as Jesus thought and the act and condition of being rich, is what is depicted in the needle's eye in whatever context it is used.

And because it actually seems impossible for a rich person to comfortably let go his physical, social and personal wealth (characteristics), it may also seem impossible for that same rich person to enter into God's kingdom (a point of total submission and dramatic transformation).

So, as sad and uncomfortable as it may seem, we cannot dismiss the idea within Jesus's teachings that it is impossible for a rich person to enter into God's kingdom.

Marianne's Reply:
Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking comment. With GOD, ALL things are possible. The rich can enter the Kingdom so long as they put God above their riches and love God over money.

Comments for The reality of "The Needle's Eye" even in the 21st century

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Apr 10, 2024
Untrue NEW
by: Anonymous

This theory is untrue and unvalidated. There is not enough evidence that the people of Jesus' time claimed there was a "camel gate" or a "needle gate." The earliest known mention of this "theory" was later that 1000 AD.

The impact of the story does not lie in our ability but in God's ability in the impossible. Jesus always delivers the "punchline" of parables and teachings at the end. Jesus states that "With man it is impossible, but with God nothing is impossible." Jesus explicitly states that it is impossible for the rich man to enter heaven. That is, it is impossible for him to do so without God. This parable attacks our Western mindset of trying to fix everything ourself as we realize that we will never be pure enough or sinless enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

I agree that it is important to apply cultural context to stories to get more out of the Bible. However, beware of applying false information.

- A Seminary Student

Nov 13, 2022
by: Anonymous

No matter one’s opinion or interpretation is, the writer has made it crystal clear (as did the scripture). He didn’t say rich people "cannot" enter into the Kingdom of God, he said it was hard! Just imagine it’s our day and age, the young man that Jesus is speaking to is Elon Musk, who is worth around 196 billion dollars, (last I checked), and Jesus looks him in the eyes and says "GO SELL ALL YOUR POSSESSIONS AND GIVE THEM TO THE POOR, YOUR TREASURE WILL BE IN HEAVEN, THEN COME AND FOLLOW ME" …. Case closed!!

Aug 02, 2022
Needles Eye
by: Laura Rahn

I was taught this at a very young age. I was taught it a little differently however the eye of the needle is the entrance to the city and when you had camels you had to unpack them completely and they would have to get on their knees to get through the eye of the needle to me this has meant such a powerful thing such a powerful message because it represents our lack of humility a desire to be bigger than what we are to be smarter than what we are but in truth the humble the submissive the meek are all powerful positions! I do not understand why anyone ever feels that this is a weak position or when it talks about women to be submissive to their husband that that is a weak position or how about even waiting on the Lord that is not a passive position! To me this passage shows me more and more each and every day how God does use people in the Bible who are meek who are humble and spirit no one thinks they're better than themselves ever gets used by God! It's the ones that realize or less than nothing without him! And thank God for him loving us! Because we can love him because he first loved us! Amen!

Aug 02, 2022
Needles Eye NEW
by: Laura Rahn

I was taught that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle then it is for a Rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
It was explained to me that you had to unpack you Camel and it would have to crawl on it's knees to enter. Where as a rich man man not humble himself by getting on his knees to enter. His PRIDE holds him. Back from being humble towards God, knowing God owns everything!

Jul 26, 2022
WHOSOEVER believes in Jesus will have eternal life!
by: Daniel

Well, Jesus wasn't against the rich man's riches. He isn't against material wealth. Or else, everyone should just become poor in order to enter the Kingdom. Why would Jesus tell one person to strip himself of his wealth and then tell another to simply believe on his name (Nicodemus, John 3) to enter God's kingdom? Isn't that partiality?
The story according to Mark shows Jesus saying "those who TRUST in their riches". And that is very important. It's just so true that TRUST in every other thing minus God is equal to vanity. Without dwelling more on this part, let's see what Jesus' point is:

The disciples asked "who then can be SAVED?"... And Jesus didn't reply "make sure you all sell all you have, and then you're good to go". He didn't tell them "make sure you don't become rich and you'll enter the kingdom of God"... Have you thought about it that way before? But he said (concerning salvation) 'with men' it is IMPOSSIBLE! 'With God', it is POSSIBLE'...Therefore, 'with God' it is possible for both the rich and the poor to enter God's kingdom as it is said "WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE"

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