Matthew 19:23-24. The said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
The word hardly in verse 22 means with great difficulty. A closer look at the next words Jesus said will help us to understand more clearly.
Going through the needle’s eye was a saying, a proverb, that was very familiar to the Jews. In the large gates in the city’s walls were smaller, narrow gates referred to as the needle’s eye. A camel could go through, on its knees, only if it were unloaded and carrying nothing. Even then, to get a camel to go to its knees to move forward was done with some difficulty.
What a perfect picture of man! In Matthew 7:14, Jesus had described the gate and the path to heaven as being strait and narrow. Few would find it. A way that is strait allows passage only with difficulty. In this instance, the difficulty is giving up all that we have gained in this life. Great riches often gain great power, honor, and respect. In this world, wealth is equal to success. Jesus knows that the heart of the person who has gained such wealth and power can be very proud, unwilling to bow the knee to go through the strait, narrow gate of simple trust in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.
Jesus was not saying that it is impossible for the wealthy to have salvation. He was saying that it is difficult for the wealthy person not to depend on his riches to get him into the kingdom.
Pride is a terrible thing. It keeps us from bowing the knee to the God of the universe.