The Gospel is called the good news for one reason, because it’s good news. All of us, Christian or not Christian, most likely recognize this parable from Jesus: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25).
I remember as a child thinking that Jesus meant the eye of a sowing needle in that parable, but that wasn’t true. He meant the gate of a rest area, which was difficult for a camel to walk through. Either way, gate or sowing needle, with what Jesus says next, it doesn’t matter, because Jesus gives us the Good News! “Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:26-27).
So, there you have it. It is definitely impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a sowing needle. In fact, that’s ridiculous, but who cares. Jesus is saying that God can make the impossible possible, meaning God will get rich men into heaven.
Jesus tells the parable of the camel because he meets a rich ruler. The ruler asks Jesus how he can get eternal life. He says to Jesus that he’s kept all of the ten commandments since he was a boy, but Jesus tells him that he lacks one thing. Then Jesus tells the ruler to sell all of his things and give to the poor, and then he can follow Jesus. Well, at that, the rich man isn’t so excited anymore (Luke 18:18-23).
The reason Jesus tells him to sell all of his things is complicated, because the one thing that the man lacks is the sum of many things. The man lacks a heart like Jesus’. If he had a heart like Jesus’ heart, he would have been giving to the poor a long time ago.
It seems as though the stakes were high with the ruler who was told to sell everything and then to leave his home and follow Jesus, but the Gospel is called the good news for a reason. Besides the good news shared earlier, here’s some more good news: ““I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life”” (Luke 18:29-30).