Impossible or Possible?

This week’s devotion comes from appointed Gospel reading: Mark 10:23-27

[23] And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” [24] And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! [25] It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” [26] And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” [27] Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 

It’s as if Jesus’ words were beyond comprehension. His disciples simply could not fathom what their Lord was saying. They  asked point blank, “Then who can be saved?” (v. 26). Jesus answered just as directly: “With man it is impossible…” (v. 27).

Consider this from the disciples’ point of view. They had left everything to follow Jesus (Mark 10:28). They had faced rebuke and ridicule from established religious leaders (Matthew 9:11). They were empowered by Jesus to heal and cast out demons (Mark 6:7-13). They had risked their lives (Matthew 8:23-24). 

After all that, they still couldn’t by their own effort enter the kingdom of God. 

If we ever start thinking our membership in the kingdom of God due to our goodness or faithfulness or sacrifices, it’s worth thinking about these disciples. If they weren’t good enough, there’s no way we are either. More accurately, since it was impossible for Jesus’ closest original followers, it’s impossible for us as well.

For that reason, we celebrate with the disciples how Jesus ended His declaration in verse 27:  “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Jesus not only knew it was possible for God to bring people into His Kingdom, He knew exactly how this would happen. By this point in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has twice predicted His death and resurrection. Jesus would pay the price for the forgiveness of the sins of the world, opening the way for us to join God’s Kingdom by faith in Jesus.  

Thank God – truly thank God – that what is impossible for us is possible for our Lord.

(This devotion was originally written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS)

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