The “eye of the needle.”

By David P. Ward


I am sure if you have been around the typical Sunday School class, you have heard the story about the rich young ruler who wasn’t going to make eternity unless he gave up all his riches. Like so many times we look at the scriptures through a “religious” pair of eye glasses and miss the revelation of what was truly being taught.

Let’s look at this Bible story a little closer.

Mark 10:17-29 (The Message)

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?"

18-19Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother."

20He said, "Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!"

21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me."

22The man's face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

23-25Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who 'have it all' to enter God's kingdom?" The disciples couldn't believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: "You can't imagine how difficult. I'd say it's easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for the rich to get into God's kingdom."

26That set the disciples back on their heels. "Then who has any chance at all?" they asked.

27Jesus was blunt: "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it."

28Peter tried another angle: "We left everything and followed you."

29-31Jesus said, "Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They'll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first."


Actually, when you think about this; it would be pretty amazing for the Son of God to say to you that there is “just one thing” you haven’t done. “Just on thing!” I would love to able to stand before the Master and Him say, “you got it all together, except you are


missing it in just one area.”

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, he seemed pretty sure of how “good” he had been in keeping “all the commandments“. The rich young ruler was actually pretty proud of himself. I think he was going up to the Master for a quick “spiritual pat on the back.” Jesus shocked the man and started quoting him the Ten Commandments to him.


Matthew 19:17-19

17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus begins with Commandment number 6, thou shall not murder. Then He quoted to the rich young ruler the seventh commandment, you shall not commit adultery. Then number eight, you shall not steal. Number nine, don’t bear false witness…then Jesus quoted number 5, honor your parents…

Then, all of a sudden, Jesus leaves the Ten Commandments and quotes scripture from the Book of Leviticus…


Leviticus 19:18

18Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.

What was the deal? Why did Jesus bring this commandment up to the rich young ruler? This was the very one thing the man wasn’t doing…loving his neighbor as himself… How do we know? I love it. Jesus was not going to play this man’s religious game with him. Jesus told him “straight up.”

Matthew 19:20-23

20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Talk about religious pride. This guy was ate up with it. This guy thought Jesus was going to give him some kind of CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION or something! The man was not looking for the way of salvation; he had kept the law all of his life and was proud of it.



When Jesus began to guiz the man about his walk with God, the man got a whole different response than he was expecting. Instead, the man walked away bewildered and sorrowful. Why? When it came to “loving his neighbor” by following Jesus and giving up everything, the rich young ruler’s “religious rug” had been pulled out from under him. Jesus had just proved to the man that he didn’t really love his neighbor as he loved himself. All Jesus was trying to do was to get the man to follow Him.

So, if we just stop here, and we have our religious glasses on; we think we get, you know, the moral of the story then would be, “give up all you have if you want to follow Jesus…


There is so much more to this story. How do we follow Jesus? Read these verses:


Matthew 19:24-28

24And 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.

25When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

This was the one commandment the rich young ruler could not keep. He did not love his neighbor the way he loved himself.



The eye of the needle was a door within a door.



You would think that there would be volumes of information about the “eye of the needle” written. I was amazed to find very little about how the walls were built in ancient days and the precautions that had to be taken to protect the inhabitants from unwanted attacks. The cities in Bible days were surrounded by large walls. You could have chariot races on the top of the walls lining up to five chariots side by side!

In the front of the city is where the walls came together down to a gate that would swing open both ways. There was always at least one man, called a watchmen, that was on guard twenty four hours a day to watch over the desert sands from all directions, in case an enemy army would try to approach the city to attack. This gave the inhabitants time to prepare so they wouldn’t be caught off guard. That is where the expression, “a thief in the night” came from as enemy armies would most of the time attack in the darkness of the night to catch the inhabitants of the city when they were sleeping. That is why as Christians we are told to awake out of our slumber and to “watch and pray.” Do you have a “watchman on the wall” in your life? That would be your Pastor! That doesn’t mean he is suppose to literally come and sit on your roof. If he is anointed of God, he “watches” supernaturally over you. That is another book to write at another time. The point is, a lot of our expressions we use as believers have to do with what folks had to do in Bible days in protecting themselves from intruders.


As long as there was day light, the gates of the city were open for business. People could go in and out of the city. At night, the main gates were closed and they used a smaller gate within the big gate. It was called the eye of the needle. Absolutely nothing to do with a sewing needle. Only one man could go through the small gate at a time. If an army came to attack, they could only enter the city one soldier at a time


If a caravan of merchants got to the city after dark, it was a lot more work for those who had their camels loaded down with goods. A big ole’ camel weighed as much as a car! They would have to unload the camel with all the merchandise they were carrying just to get the camel through the eye of the needle! Even then, the camel was made to get down on its knees to be able to go through the small gate after the animal had been completely unloaded! This was hard and it took a lot of energy and time. Once the merchant got his camel through, he would go back outside the wall and bring his goods through the gate. He didn’t have to give away any of his goods, he could bring them to the other side, but, first he would have to release them to get the camel through!


All Jesus was saying to the rich young ruler was, if you would come on through the door of the new birth and follow Him, He would make sure that when you get to the

other side, like the rich young ruler, could get his stuff back! Jesus has no problem with you having the stuff, you just have to be willing to lay it all down to get through the gate of eternal life.


Matthew 19:26-30

26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.


27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

29And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Matthew 19:29 (Contemporary English Version)

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

29All who have given up home or brothers and sisters or father and mother or children or land for me will be given a hundred times as much. They will also have eternal life.

Just to think that Jesus told the rich young ruler that if you are willing to give up houses, lands, and even family for the Gospel’s sake, the Lord would make sure you would receive a hundred fold return in this life!


So many times we think the disciples took a vow of poverty. How do you travel with a dozen people everywhere without money? They also had a treasurer that dipped into the kitty and no one knew he was stealing out of it.


When was the last time you heard of somebody gambling for your clothes after you die? The roman soldiers cast lots for the robe Jesus was wearing. They did that over Michael Jackson’s clothes… they must’ve been worth something. Jesus had money to do what God had called him to do and so can you!


John 13:29 (Contemporary English Version)

29But because Judas was in charge of the money, some of them thought that Jesus had told him to buy something they needed for the festival. Others thought that Jesus had told him to give some money to the poor.

It must have been common for the evangelistic team to pay for the meal before they finished, and then to give something to the poor. You have to have money in the bag for that too.


Just remember this: you will never receive eternal life by doing good deeds. The one commandment the rich young ruler could not keep was Leviticus 19:18.


Leviticus 19:18 (King James Version)

18Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people,


but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.


The rich young ruler wasn’t willing to give all he had up to follow Jesus. The man went away sad. If he really loved his neighbor as himself, he could have given his money to the poor. If you can do this one commandment, then all the rest will fall into place. On the other hand, if you can’t do this commandment in Leviticus, you can’t do any of them.

All the commandments and all the Law, hang on these two commandments; love the Lord with all your heart, and, love your neighbor as yourself.


Romans 13:8-10

8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.


Galatians 5:14

14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

James 2:8-9

8If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

James 2:8-9 (The Message)

8-11You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: "Love others as you love yourself." But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period.

Proverbs 10:22 (21st Century King James Version)

22The blessings of the LORD maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.


The way to fulfill the Law is to love your neighbor as yourself. We are to keep the Ten Commandments. Isn’t it amazing most people can’t even quote all of them. Just keep the




one commandment of love and you will fulfill all the rest. Ask yourself the question;


How do you love you?


If you are saying you are just an ole sinner; that you are just a worm squirming in the

dust, or, you are just unworthy, I don’t want you to love me like you love you.

If you think God loves you more if you stay poor, then you are going to miss out on being blessed! It’s okay to have money, just don’t let the money have you!


Be blessed today for revelation that sets you free!


Isn’t it good to know that you can love your neighbor and prosper and be in health as your soul prospers!


If you truly want to know how God thinks about a subject; all you have to do is go to the Bible. Be willing to read the following scriptures over and over until they get way down on the inside of you. The Bible is the holy Word of God. It goes way beyond man’s opinion on how God thinks about things.


I have listed scriptures that are in the Old and New Testaments on God wanting you to prosper. Like the story of the rich young ruler, don’t forget to take your “religious sunglasses” off before you start reading. Just because you heard some Preacher say something about “name it and claim it,” it “blab it and grab it,” does not make the Word of God invalid.


You can find all kinds of scriptures in the Bible say about anything you want. Stay teachable, stay open to learn and grow.


Love God with all your heart.


Learn to love you for you. The Lord will be working on all of us for all eternity to learn to think the way He thinks about things. There is an unlimited source of power and strength in God’s Word. Take His Word literally, for all it’s worth and it will begin to change you from the inside out!

3 John 1:2

2Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Philippians 4:19

19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


Luke 6:38

38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (The Message)

8-9I'm not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians' enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (Amplified Bible)

9For you are becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly and clearly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His kindness, His gracious generosity, His undeserved favor and spiritual blessing), [in] that though He was [so very] rich, yet for your sakes He became [so very] poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied).

Proverbs 10:22

22The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Isaiah 1:19 (Amplified Bible)

19If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land

2 Corinthians 8:9 (Amplified Bible)

9For you are becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly and clearly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His kindness, His gracious generosity, His undeserved favor and spiritual blessing), [in] that though He was [so very] rich, yet for your sakes He became [so very] poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied).

Deuteronomy 28 (Contemporary English Version)

The LORD Will Bless You if You Obey

Moses said to Israel:

1-2Today I am giving you the laws and teachings of the LORD your God. Always obey them, and the LORD will make Israel the most famous and important nation on earth, and he will bless you in many ways.


3The LORD will make your businesses and your farms successful.

4You will have many children. You will harvest large crops, and your herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats will produce many young.

5You will have plenty of bread to eat. 6The LORD will make you successful in your daily work.

7The LORD will help you defeat your enemies and make them scatter in all directions.

8The LORD your God is giving you the land, and he will make sure you are successful in everything you do. Your harvests will be so large that your storehouses will be full.

9If you follow and obey the LORD, he will make you his own special people, just as he promised. 10Then everyone on earth will know that you belong to the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.

11The LORD will give you a lot of children and make sure that your animals give birth to many young. The LORD promised your ancestors that this land would be yours, and he will make it produce large crops for you.

12The LORD will open the storehouses of the skies where he keeps the rain, and he will send rain on your land at just the right times. He will make you successful in everything you do. You will have plenty of money to lend to other nations, but you won't need to borrow any yourself.

13Obey the laws and teachings that I'm giving you today, and the LORD your God will make Israel a leader among the nations, and not a follower. Israel will be wealthy and powerful, not poor and weak. 14But you must not reject any of his laws and teachings or worship other gods.

Proverbs 28:20 (Amplified Bible)

20A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich [at any cost] shall not go unpunished.

Proverbs 28:20 (King James Version)

20A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

Proverbs 24:3-4 (The Message)

3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house,

and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;

It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms

with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.



Psalm 111:5-6 (The Message)

1-10 Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I've got—

Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.

God's works are so great, worth

A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!

Splendor and beauty mark his craft;

His generosity never gives out.

His miracles are his memorial—

This God of Grace, this God of Love.

He gave food to those who fear him,

He remembered to keep his ancient promise.

He proved to his people that he could do what he said:

Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift!

He manufactures truth and justice;

All his products are guaranteed to last—

Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.

All that he makes and does is honest and true:

He paid the ransom for his people,

He ordered his Covenant kept forever.

He's so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.

The good life begins in the fear of God—

Do that and you'll know the blessing of God.

His Hallelujah lasts forever!

Deuteronomy 8:18 (Amplified Bible)

18But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Proverbs 13:11 (Amplified Bible)

11Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches].

Proverbs 13:22 (Amplified Bible)

22A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children's children, and the wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up.





Isn’t it good to know a 2000 pound camel doesn’t have to go through the eye of a sewing needle!


True Prosperity only comes as we renew our minds the Word of God. The rich young ruler posed the question to Jesus, “how can I inherit eternal life?” Eternal life is not inherited or earned. It is a gift from God. Jesus answered the man’s question, but, the rich young ruler didn’t get the answer he was looking for because he wasn’t truly being sincere with Jesus. He was trying to show Jesus how religious and good he was. This definitely did not impress the Son of God. Sometimes it is the religious ones that have the hardest time receiving eternal life. They gloat in their self-righteousness because they attend church, don’t chew tobacco or drink alcohol. You can be a moral good person and die and go to hell…

Jesus was not impressed with this man. Jesus knew that because of the frailty of human flesh, no one was able to keep all Ten Commandments 24 hours a day. If it was works that brings man to God, then Jesus would have never had to die on the Cross. Thank God we are saved by His grace; not by our works.

The reason Jesus quoted Leviticus to the rich young ruler was the only way the man could be free to “love his neighbor as himself” was for him to voluntarily give his possessions away. Jesus was not against the man having great possessions. If that was the case then Abraham, David, and Solomon would had been in opposition of God’s will. All of those great men had a lot of clout. (money, resources) If wealthy men can’t get to heaven then these men of God would be doomed for hell. God is not against our having possessions; He just doesn’t want our possessions to have us!




Self Check

!. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, what do you think he was looking for from Jesus?


2. What commandments did Jesus mention to the rich young ruler?


3. What scripture in Leviticus did Jesus give the rich young ruler?


4. What was the “one thing” the rich young ruler failed to do?


5. What was the rich young ruler’s reaction to what Jesus said to him?


6. What is the “eye of the needle” Jesus was referring to?


7. How did the merchants get the camels through the eye of the needle?


8. What happened to all the goods that were on the camel?


9. What was Jesus asking the rich young ruler to do and how did the eye of the needle compare to following Jesus?


10. Name 3 scriptures you have learned from the study:




Write out the 3 scriptures and quote them out loud:







This could be the most important prayer you will ever pray…




Father, I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Your Son and that He was crucified, buried, and resurrected, to pay the price in full so I can live victoriously over sin, sickness, and poverty (both spiritual and natural), and spiritual death.


Jesus, I confess You as my Savior and Lord. I Thank You that I am saved. I now become a new creation and I become righteous in You. Old things have passed away and all things become new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21).


Thank You, Lord Jesus, for empowering me with Your Spirit so I can live an overcoming, abundant life and become a bold witness of You!

Today my new life begins in You, Lord Jesus. Thank You!



















Are you looking for answers to your Bible questions?


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There is a Bible Correspondence School now available just for you!


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For more information concerning our weekly classes being taught in Wagoner, Oklahoma please call (918)-485-5777.

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About the Author





Dave & Vonda Ward



David and Vonda Ward have been involved in singing, teaching, and prophetic ministry since 1982. They have pioneered several Churches in the United States and abroad. In 1989 they founded New Creation Missions International.

The Ward’s ministry has carried them to over 20 countries preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.


N.C.M.I. has been involved in outreaches throughout the world including Medical Missions to Central America and to the Chernobyl Children in the Ukraine. They have delivered over a million dollars worth of humanitarian aid to the region working with Funds for Democracy and Development under the direction of the United States State Department under President Bush Sr. in 1994.


With a unique teaching ability, Dave Ward has held prophetic conferences and Pastor’s Seminars worldwide teaching people with hungry hearts the whole counsel of the Word of God. He has also authored several books which are available through their ministry.


David and Vonda Ward are currently overseeing New Creation Missions International Training Center, which is their mission thrust to the world from their home church, Legacy Family Church and World Outreach Center, Inc. in Wagoner, Oklahoma.


They also travel extensively with their three sons, Joshua, Jordan and Caleb, who have a Christian Rock Band , Consumed By Fire. The Wards minister as a Prophetic Team in Churches, conferences, and Venues across





Books by David P. Ward


Prophetic Prayer to Sonship


Climbing Your Summit

From the lower to the higher life



The difference between spirit and soul


No Leaf the Same

My vision of Heaven


The Importance of the Word

In every day life





A Father’s Love


The eye of a needle


(All Books listed above are $10.00 each plus $3.00 shipping & handling. If you are ordering more than 2 books, please add $1.00 for each additional book)


Pastor Ward’s books are available for purchase on line by going to the Ministry’s web store at . Or you can write the ministry at:




David P. Ward

New Creation Missions International

2101 S. Dewey Avenue (Hwy 69)

Wagoner, Oklahoma 74467 USA


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Other quotations are from:

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society


Cover Design by Jordan Ward/J & J Graphics and Design


ISBN 0-88144-220-8

Copyright č 2009 by

David P. Ward

Legacy Family Church and World Outreach Center, Inc.

New Creation Missions International

2101 S. Dewey Avenue (Hwy 69)

Wagoner, Oklahoma 74467


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Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the Publisher.