Jesus and the recalcitrant camel

So some rich Christians are trying to work their way around Jesus’ admonition about Christian wealth. “Again I say to you, 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.”
 
Apparently some Christian scholars have been saying that the “eye of the needle” was the name of a gate in Jerusalem, a particularly thorny entrance through which it was not the easiest task to coax a recalcitrant camel. Interesting. So that is what Jesus was saying. Well.

Ask yourself how to define “impossible.” Imagine trying to explain to a child “it cannot be done.” To a child all things are possible. You find yourself having to use an illustration, very like Jesus did. Maybe you choose the elephant in a box concept. (Is there an elephant in this box? No. How do you know there’s not an elephant in this box? It would be too big. So would it be impossible for an elephant to be in this box?)

Now try to define a “difficult task,” and simple examples abound. “As hard as trying to stay awake when you’re sleepy. Or doing a handstand on one elbow. Or keeping a hacky-sack up in the air with only your tongue!” All would be pretty hard I guess. But not impossible.

Does it sound to you like that was what Jesus was trying to illustrate? I think his sarcastic tone gives it away. A sarcastic comparison only works with extremes. Else he would have said “it’s as DIFFICULT as directing your camel through etc, etc.”

Maybe in today’s parlance, Jesus would have liked to say, a rich man will get into heaven when the ambient temperature of the world’s nether regions reach a sufficient extreme to freeze over!

What a bunch of sniveling sneaks.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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