Daily Devotion for November 18, 2009
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for The Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew, 19:16-26
The Eye of the Needle
One of the followers asked him, "Teacher, what good thing should I do, that I may have eternal life?"
Christ said, "Why do you ask me about the good? One exists is who is good. But if you would enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked, "Which?" And Jesus said, "Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness."
"Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
The young man then said, "I have observed all of these. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me."
When the young man heard the saying, he was heavy hearted; for he had great possessions.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
When the disciples heard this, they were astonished, saying, "Who can possibly be saved?"
Jesus looked upon them and replied, "For men, it is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Comment on the Scripture
There has sprung up a Biblical "urban legend" that the "eye of the needle" was a narrow gate in Jerusalem, used after hours; in some versions a camel can get through it, only when all packs have been removed and it crawls on its knees; in others, such a large animal cannot fit. Other interpreters speculate, with more foundation, that the word is a misprint of "rope" (kamelos in Greek), camel being kamilos.
More likely, Christ's words mean exactly what they sound like when first heard. A number of Hebrew sources use a needle and a large animal (usually an elephant) as an outlandish metaphor for impossibility. It seems to be Christ's style to make occasional examples a bit ludicrous; who hasn't wondered at the image of a person with a "beam" or even a "tree" in his own eye, criticizing the speck in someone else's?
I have always wondered if this passage was supposed to be a bit humorous; the picture of the young man's face falling when Christ tells him to give everything away — "for he had great possessions" — has always made me chuckle.
For a more detailed Commentary, go to Today’s Lesson.