“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible…For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 1:37)
God’s ability has a critical relationship with His promises. The more we trust His ability, the more sure we are of His promises. Man’s ability is one of the basic reasons we often doubt human promises. This is one of the significant differences between God’s promises and man’s promises. Man’s ability often runs into human impossibilities. The Lord is not limited by the “impossibility factor.” This truth is reflected in two stories of “seeming impossibilities” that lie behind our present verses.
A rich young man came to Jesus, seeking salvation. “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). Jesus quoted the law to stir conviction. This man wrongly thought he was performing well. “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” (Matthew 19:20). Jesus identified with precision the man’s basic sin: putting money ahead of the Lord. “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21). However, he would not put Jesus ahead of his riches. “When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22). Jesus then elaborated on the man’s difficult situation. “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” (Matthew 19:24). The disciples (who wrongly assumed that rich men were the most likely to be saved) wondered how anyone could then be saved. Jesus corrected their faulty thinking. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:24). Later, Jesus demonstrated that God can even save a rich man (Zacchaeus-see Luke 19:1-10).
Our second story concerns the “impossible” births of Jesus and John, the Baptist. When the angel proclaimed to Mary that she would have a child before she even knew a man in marriage, she was initially staggered by the impossibility of it all. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Then, the angel announced that Elizabeth (Mary’s elderly, barren relative) was now pregnant. Finally, the angel summarized Jesus’ divine conception and Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy with the heavenly explanation: ” For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Dear Lord, You are able to do much more than put camels through eyes of needles. You are able to forgive sinners and get them into heaven. Lord, Your ability to do the impossible assures the certainty of Your promises, so I trust in Your word, Amen.