What on earth is impossible for man to achieve?
Maybe Jesus was misreported by Matthew? Maybe there’s nothing we Jersey folk couldn’t achieve? On the other hand the words seem to have been a meaningful statement because (see bold above) Jesus “looked at them” when he said those words. And another biographer of Jesus, Mark, reports Jesus saying the same thing at that time: “With man it is impossible but not with God.....”
The Queen, in Alice in Wonderland, upbraided Alice when she said “one can’t believe impossible things”. The Queen said that Alice must practice doing so and that, when she was young, she had sometimes managed to believe “as many as six impossible things before breakfast”.
In that case, how about this? If you agree that Jesus was right when he said that a certain thing was impossible with men, will you then believe (before and after breakfast) that that very thing “is possible” (as Jesus said) for a man to do “with God” – when God is with him?
Let’s have a go. First of all, what did Jesus say was “impossible with men”? It’s something that seems easy. It’s for a man (1) to give to the poor all that he has and then (2) to follow Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man.
Let’s deal with (1) because it’s a killer. Am I able to give everything (yes, all) that I have to the poor? Jesus gave a First Century AD example of how impossible this was – a camel being threaded through a needle’s eye. In Jersey in the 21st Century AD our camels are 4X4s, and we still have needles. Yes, a Land Rover through the needle they supply in good hotel bedrooms. If you don’t agree that it’s impossible, please log on to internet banking and empty your account in favour of Tear Fund, then sell all your possessions (and the 4X4) and do the same with that money.
Yes, it is impossible with men – maybe especially so for Jersey men and women because of (instead of despite) our relative wealth. Just before looking at his disciples and stating the words in bold above Jesus had been asking a young man with “great wealth” to give it all to the poor. Impossible.
So impossible is this that many, many Christians argue that Jesus never intended the rich young man to do this. Apparently Jesus meant something other than what he said........ (!) But to be God-like is to be a giver.....
How absolutely stupendous then to report that one particular man has indeed done this completely and demonstrably...... That man was Jesus Christ of Nazareth in AD33. He gave all he had – down to his own clothes being distributed before his eyes as he breathed his last. He even gave away his goodness because that was totally overturned when he was convicted of death-deserving criminality in two separate judicial arenas.
All that for others. So as to be able to offer his killers (and me) a free pardon. And he rose again from the dead – as a man.
OK. So a specific thing is indeed “impossible with men”. But does this impossible thing become possible for men and women “with God”? After all, Jesus said (in Luke’s biography), “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
In Jersey of recent times a couple in their 70s placed a cheque for £20,000 in the hands of others for use in making Jesus Christ known in Jersey. They were asked by the charity to sign a Lump Sum Donation form so that the Income Tax paid on their assumed earnings that had provided the £20,000 to them could be reclaimed and added to the gift. The Treasurer found that their income was too low for them to pay Income Tax in Jersey. Their principal source of income was their Social Security pensions.
These folk had decided, many years ago, to follow Jesus Christ (see (2) above).
What was impossible for them before that was becoming possible as new living waters (the holy spirit/life of Jesus) sprang up within them – and flowed out to others.