Pastor Douthwaite had another killer sermon yesterday. See what he does with the “camel through the eye of the needle” text (Mark 10:23-31). An excerpt (with a reference to a woman who had just been baptized earlier in the service):
God did something much more difficult than put a camel through the eye of a needle. That sounds incredible to us, and so many commentators and teachers have tried to soften this teaching of Jesus by claiming that there was a gate into the city of Jerusalem that was named “the eye of the needle” and if your camel had too much stuff on it, you would have to take some off to get through. But it was possible! But let us move past such nonsense to the real point: Jesus meant what He said. Unless and until you can put your big, fat, sinful, camel-self through the eye of a needle, you will never get yourself into the kingdom of heaven. The disciples understood that, that’s why they immediately asked: “Then who can be saved?”
And Jesus says: “All things are possible with God.” Because what had God done? He didn’t put a camel through the eye of a needle, He did something much, much greater: in love, He put His almighty and infinite Son through a virgin’s womb. That His Son, clothed in our flesh and blood, love us to death. That we who are dead in our trespasses and sins and clinging to our false gods, be loved to life. And so Jesus comes to give us what no one and no thing else can: love. True love. Eternal love.
And so in love He is born, and in love He lives. In love He ascends the cross, and in love He dies. In love He takes our sins, and in love He gives us forgiveness and life. For as it was said of the rich young man, so it is true for you: And Jesus, looking at you, loves you. Not because you deserve it, but because that is who your God and Saviour is and what He does: love.
Today you got to see that love in action yet again, as the almighty and infinite Son of God came through the waters of Holy Baptism, and again did something much greater than put a camel through the eye of a needle – He put YuRim through His death and resurrection and gave her the promise of eternal life. He washed away her sins and gave her a new birth and made her His child forever. Not because water can do such great things, but because He can.
And in just a few moments, you get to see this love in action again, as the almighty and infinite Son of God come to you in the bread and wine of His Supper, doing something much greater than putting a camel through the eye of a needle – putting His body into your mouth and pouring His blood over your sin-parched lips, thus giving life to the dead, forgiveness to the sinful, and salvation to the needy. Not because bread and wine can do such great things, but because He can.