Daily Word

Who can be saved? | Matthew 19:23-26

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, 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.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:23-26 (NASB)


In the previous passage, a rich young man had asked Jesus how to get eternal life. He thought it was by keeping the commands…which he knew he couldn’t. Jesus pointed this out to him. Unfortunately, not only could the man not keep the commands, he didn’t humble himself and confess to Jesus his need for help…and come to faith in Him.


Jesus then speaks to His disciples directly telling them it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom. The metaphor of the camel indicates that not only is it difficult, it’s impossible…with men. And since He is ultimately talking about salvation, it’s clear Jesus is saying that salvation by man’s means is impossible. Only with God is it possible.

About the rich?

Quite related to this is the question: Is this just about the rich? As we can see, the disciples catch the drift. It’s not just about the rich. It is impossible for anyone, by good works and keeping the law, to enter the Kingdom of God (Romans 3:20). It is only by God’s work – Jesus’ work on the cross, His substitutionary sacrifice for us – that anyone can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:28).

Yet it is true that it is (possibly more) difficult for the rich (or those who think they are) to get into the Kingdom. Why? They believe they don’t have any needs. Anything they want, they can get, for the most part. 

But rich can mean more than financial/material wealth. The Jewish religious leaders thought they were rich in a different way – spiritually. They thought because they were Jews, descendents of Abraham, they were “in like Flynn”. But Jesus rebuked them and said they are white-washed stones (Matthew 23:27 ) and, told them the Father can make sons of Abraham out of stones (Matthew 3:9-10) if He desired. They were indeed sick (with sin) but they didn’t want to come to Dr. Jesus for healing.


  • Are you trusting in yourself or some other person, some other way, than Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to forgive you of your sin. You know in your heart what’s true. God is calling you to repent and believe. Click here if you are in this situation.
  • For us that are following the Lord, the challenge is to make sure we aren’t finding some other way of salvation and straying from Christ. It’s easy to revert to good works. But that is a complete lie from the enemy of our souls. It robs us of our relationship with the Father and makes a mockery of Christ’s death.
Needle’s eye rock formation. Image from davesworldtours.com *

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