I cannot imagine that anyone reading this series so far, has not experienced at least one moment when you’ve seen something that seemed impossible happen. For some of you one thing might have been when the United States put man on the moon. Years ago, there was an article saying that it seemed impossible when Bill Gates’ had a vision for Microsoft of having “a computer on every desk, in every home.” Or Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, setting that company on a path to have “every book, ever published, in any language available for Kindle customers to purchase and begin reading in less than 60 seconds.” Someday people will say, I remember when it seemed impossible that we would ever have a cure for cancer. It seemed impossible that cars would drive themselves. It seemed impossible that Jesus was ever going to come back!
In the scripture from Matthew, the disciples have heard Jesus say some things that seemed impossible. At the end of chapter 18, Jesus says you must forgive your brother’s sin against you how many times? Seven? No, seventy times seven. I picture Peter thinking, impossible. Then in chapter 19, the Pharisees are asking Jesus about divorce, Moses said a man could divorce a woman for any reason. Jesus says, no. No divorce. Unless she’s been unfaithful. And while I don’t want to get sidetracked here, I believe in our understanding of how husbands and wives are to treat each other, we would agree that in cases of abuse, divorce is appropriate. So, Jesus said people should stay married and I picture the disciples thinking, impossible. (And husbands and wives, this is not a good place of an amen – I repeat not a good place.) As a matter of fact in chapter 19, verse 10, the disciples say, it would be better not to get married. If you have to keep each other forever, forget it. That’s impossible.
Then someone whom we call the rich, young ruler, (and for you who don’t know the story, think cocky young dude with a lot of money) comes to ask Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him part of the Ten Commandments, specifically that part about how you treat others; the rich, perhaps spoiled, young guy says, all this I’ve done from my youth. And Jesus, apparently picking up on his attitude and sensing that the guy places a lot of stock in his possessions, hits the guy where it hurts. Sell all you have and give it to the poor, then your treasure will be in heaven, then come follow me.
Don’t get lost here thinking everyone is called to sell everything and give it to the poor. Luke 19 tells of another rich man, Zacchaeus, and Zacchaeus said he said he was going to give part of his wealth away and Jesus approved.
So back to the rich young guy, he walks away sad, not willing to do what Jesus required.
I said Jesus hits the guy where it hurts. Jesus has this habit of requiring of people what’s most precious to them.
Whatever it is that you want to hold onto more than anything else – If you were the person who went to Jesus is this scripture, His answer would have been that thing. Perhaps, it is money. Perhaps, it is control. Perhaps, it is anger. Whatever it is that you want to hold on to, He says, let go of that, and hold onto Me. It’s never the easy stuff, it’s the hard stuff. You might say the “impossible for me” thing.
And just to make sure that His disciples get it, because they have proven time and again they’re not necessarily the brightest, He says, it is harder for a camel, the largest animal they had back then, to get through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
Now when you go over to Israel today, when you get to the Church of the Nativity, the guides show you a little sub-gate under the gate into the church. And they tell you that that little sub-gate was called the eye of the needle, and that in the gates of the cities they always had this little sub-gate, which was called the eye of the needle. In order to get the camel through it, they had to take all of the burden of the camel’s back, and it had to get down on the ground. And a couple guys behind him pushing, and one guy in front of it pulling, to get it to squeeze through this eye of the needle in the gate. And they say that’s what Jesus was talking about.
I find that interesting. They make it a possibility if you struggle hard enough, and if you grunt and groan enough, you can actually save yourself. A lot of people would like to have you think that. But Jesus points out that that is entirely false. He is talking not about some little gate that you can, by a lot of effort, and grunts and groans squeeze and get through. He is talking about an eye of a needle, that a woman is sewing with, and you trying to get a camel through that? And that’s why the disciples said, “Lord, who then can be saved?” and note, Jesus said what, “With man it is impossible.” Remember that.
He didn’t say, “You got to strain. You got to struggle. You got to grunt and groan, give it your best.” He is saying, “It’s impossible.” Man cannot save himself. The moralist cannot save himself. No man by good works can save himself. No man by a good work can inherit age-abiding, eternal life. It is a gift of God, and it is only wrought by a miracle of God in our hearts and lives. For though it is impossible with men, with God all things are possible.
Some people have impossibilities they’re facing. Some of you have impossibilities you’re facing. From our human perspective and abilities, we say IMPOSSIBLE. And God says to you and to me, you’re wrong. Nothing is impossible with Jesus. With Jesus, ALL Things are possible.
Maybe you have a bill due, maybe you have a marriage on the rocks, maybe you have a family situation that is without a solution, maybe you have an unhealthy addiction, maybe you have an anger issue, maybe you suffer from abuse, maybe you are afraid to step out in faith. We know from experience that on our own, at times forgiveness is impossible. On our own, these things are impossible.
Jesus said to the disciples, and says to you and to me, on your own, you are right… there are some things that are impossible.
And Lord knows, you’ve tried…
over and over and over
Do you have an impossibility in your life?
Do you know our God is the God of the possible. He is the God of Hope and the only place in the Bible that He’s called that is in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of Hope fill you will all peace in believing as you trust in Him.”
Jesus says, you are not alone. I am with you. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry. Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about what you’re going to eat, don’t worry about where you’re going to sleep, don’t worry about what others do to you. You just give it all to God and he will provide the way. Don’t worry if people take advantage of you, don’t hold a grudge.
How is that possible? It is impossible from the world’s perspective.
Impossible that God came to earth in the form Of Jesus; Impossible that Jesus would die on the cross for our sin. Impossible that “…by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you can been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” Ephesians 2:8-10
I pray you see the hope and comfort in this message. True. God Can Do ALL Things!