But, Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?"

Mark 10:24-26, RSV 


The apostles were astonished, we are told, when Jesus revealed to them how hard it was for those the rich to be saved. They had the idea that the rich got that way because they had been blessed by God, and in some cases they were right. But their connection of faithfulness to riches was so ingrained that it astonished them to think that the rich would have a hard time of being saved.


We live in a different time wherein we don't have so much trouble with that idea because the rich people always seem to be rich because they took advantage of somebody who was poor. That's what many teach in school, and that's what the rich politicians tell us, so it must be true. And in some cases it is true that the rich are wicked people who became so because they took advantage of others, still...


Did you know that Americans are so vastly wealthy by the world's standards, that we would likely be in the category of the "rich" that Jesus was referring to? Did you know that if you have a full stomach, clothes to spare, and a roof to sleep under that you are in the top 25% of the world's wealthy, and that if you add to that money in the bank and a couple of cars, you are likely in the top 5% of the world's wealthy. Did you know that if you make $50,000 a year you are in the top 1% of the world in terms of income?


That means we are rich! Since we are rich (And we are not even talking about the true wealth of spiritual blessings here) then we have a problem! For Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to be saved... but then He followed it up with this promise: With God all things are possible!


That is why we are studying! We want to find out how we can take advantage of God's help, because no one can be saved on their own - whether rich or poor - it simply cannot be done on our own! So we study to see how we can do it with God.


Are you rich? Are you studying?


Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

Mark 10:27, RSV


Today is Day 13 of the 90 day commitment to study through the New Testament. Today's study is the 9th, 10th and 11th chapters of Mark. If you have made it this far, then you are probably amazed at the things you have already learned in thirteen short days. Isn't God good!