Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Matthew 19:16-30, NRSV)
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…
Some say this is a gate that had a camel had to be unencumbered and then lower to its knees and crawl through. This, however, has not been proven.
The interesting thing this read of the passage is, the rich young man said he kept all the commandments Jesus brought up to him. This of course after he asked which ones. It is like he knew the ones he had broken, but thankfully the ones Jesus mentioned he was good on and therefore he would be fine getting into heaven.
I think the commandments are Jesus way of helping us live the way He came to show us to live. Yes, I know that approaches on the third use of the Law, to make us righteous, but if we are worried about living the right way, we will be doing what God is leading us to do. It is when we think we have kept the laws, that Jesus ups the ante and shows us that we don’t get it, and only by truly following Him will we make it.