[Jesus said,] “Again I tell you, 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.”
We should not mistake Christ’s clarity for callousness. It is easy to miss the weight Christ felt when he said things like, “it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus extended his clarity in calling to everyone he met. Their spurning of him as Savior was never easy. This section of teachings culminated with Jesus weeping over a people that rejected him.
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” The gospels record that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. The night before his execution Christ cried out in such deep distress that the blood vessels under his skin ruptured, joining his tears and sweat with his blood. Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest friends and abandoned by all his disciples. He suffered physical beatings at an unjust trial, and was left to die by crucifixion; the most agonizing death the world had then conjured. Finally, with the weight of the humanity’s evil on his back, Christ endured the ultimate pain of God’s rejection — something so painful he immediately breathed his last.
“God could, had he pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the stoic sort who lets no sigh escape him,” observes C.S Lewis.  The Bible goes to great length to show Christ’s familiarity with pain. The author of Hebrews reminds readers that this is important to faith. God is not distant from his treasured creation. Because Christ suffered he can relate to us in suffering.
Jesus knew the weight of what he called the rich to do. He was intimately familiar with the path of self-denial. Jesus’ invitation to the rich wasn’t to orchestrate their own way into his kingdom. Earning is normative for the successful. His request, the one he knew so many would eschew, was to trust him for their salvation.
Father, thank you for not leaving us alone with the burden of self-denial. Christ’s invitation is clear, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Thank you that you suffered on our behalf. Through your suffering we find life. Thank you that in sacrifice we discover the joy of your salvation.
This week: For These Things, I Weep
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org
 CS Lewis, Letters of Faith through the Seasons, p.36. Also see Isaiah 53.3 ESV, and Hebrews 2.18