{9}          The camel and the eye of a needle [Mk 10:25]

Mk 10:25
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.


·               Is it impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God just as it is not merely difficult but impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? If this is true, then who can be saved?


·               Parallel in Mt 19:24 and Lk 18:25.

·               follows the incident of the rich man who was anxious to know how to inherit eternal life (synonymous with entering the Kingdom of God).

·               solemn assertions to His disciples.


·               In the gospels, “being saved” is a synonym for entering the Kingdom of God and inheriting eternal life.

·               Attempts have been made to soften this hard saying:

·                                 (1) Eye of a needle is a metaphor: a small opening giving independent access through a large city gate. If a man approaches the city gate on camel back when it is closed, he can dismount and get through the small entrance on foot; but even a small, unloaded camel would be in danger of getting stuck when trying to get through the small entrance. Thus, it may be difficult but not impossible.

·                                 (2) Greek word “kamilos” meaning “cable” is similar in appearance and sound to the word “kam-los” meaning “camel”. The saying becomes “It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”

·               Jewish rabbinical literature: an elephant passing through the eye of a needle is a figure of speech for sheer impossibility.

·               The affluent are always tempted to rely on earthly things and do not find it easy to cast themselves in the mercy of God. The same is true of those with other non‑material riches, such as intellectual standing, high morality, or high artistic achievement, etc.

·               Jews were apt to regard material prosperity as a mark of divine favour, and the possession of riches as a kind of virtue. Hence the disciples (Jews) react with “who then can be saved?”.

·               Jesus’ message: It is not easy for anyone to enter the Kingdom of God (“the gate is narrow and the way is hard. Mt 7:14). It is humanly impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God; but for God, nothing is impossible.


{10}    Faith that removes mountains [Mk 11:23; Lk 17:6; Mt 17:20]

Mk 11:23
I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart bus believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Lk 17:6
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.

Mt 17:20
Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.


·         Can faith really remove mountains, even when it is no bigger than a mustard seed?


·         Mark: in Jerusalem during the Holy Week, the day after the cursing of the fig tree

·         Luke: from the Q (Quelle) collection

·         Matthew: after healing the epileptic boy at the foot of the mountain of transfiguration, combining features from Mark and Q


·         All passages emphasize the limitless possibilities open to faith.

·         Jesus illustrates the power of faith by analogies from the natural world.

·         If faith is present at all, even if it is small, it can accomplish wonders.

·         In Matthew’s account, it is a proverbial expression denoting “Nothing shall be impossible to you”. The disciples distrusted the power they had received and so failed. Christ convinces them by showing them what they might have done. An active faith can remove mountains, not of itself, but of God’s power.

·         In Luke’s account, the apostles acknowledged the weakness and deficiency of their faith. Christ gave them the assurance of the wonderful efficacy of true faith.

·         In Mark’s account, the words are addressed to the disciples after the incident of the cursing of the fig tree. It seems that the connection with the lesson of faith is not obvious. Jesus spoke in the morning on their way from Bethany to Jerusalem; hence, “this mountain” would be the Mount of Olives.

·         Zec 14:4 depicts the scene of a violent earthquake on the Day of the Lord. The Mount of Olives played a special part. The words might have meaning, “If you have sufficient faith in God, the Day of the Lord will come sooner than you think.”