24 Jesus looked at him [the rich young ruler] and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:24-30
On the heels of the rich young ruler’s encounter with Jesus, watching him retreat into the shadows, the Lord commented on the difficulty of passage into the kingdom of God for those who are wealthy. He used an absurd example to make his point. Something about a camel going through the eye of a needle.
Perhaps this was an allusion to how small we have to be to enter God’s kingdom. If we therefore are nothing and Jesus is everything, we have met the size requirement.
Anyway, his disciples were stunned by the turn of events, probably thinking the rich man would certainly be invited into the fold. Then who, pray tell, could ever be saved, they exclaimed? Jesus replied, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” This was a bankable promise worthy of a plaque on the wall. And of all the things that are impossible, our salvation is the most impossible, without yielding all to God.
Peter then pointed out that most of them–the disciples–had indeed left everything to follow him. Jesus encouraged those who had sacrificed in such a way saying that in this life and in the one to come, those sacrificing to heed his call would be rewarded.
I always think of the truly sold out, who spend huge stretches of time away from their families to share the gospel in foreign lands (I have a particular brother in mind who was in Nicaragua and India far more than his Midwest home). I think, sure they’ll be rewarded in heaven, but I can’t fathom the level of sacrifice on all domestic fronts.
But Jesus’ encouragement includes “many times as much in this age.” Somehow, he takes care of his servants and their loved ones so that they’re happy and free from resentment. All I know is that my friend, now likely stateside for the remainder of his time on earth, has more great grandkids than he can shake a stick at, and he has only two knees!