Mark 10: 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 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.


Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.


Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?


Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak: for I am a child.

7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Fear of Man

Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.


MEMORY VERSE: And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? —Mark 4:40


CENTRAL THOUGHT: We are hindered from faith and trust in God when we place our dependence upon material wealth, pride or self-righteousness. Self-abasement and fear also hinder us from believing God and trusting Him fully.




Mark 10:25 “A camel to go through the eye of a needle”: a common expression among the Jews and Arabs, which signified an impossibility. The Babylonian Talmud used an elephant as a reference. There is a similar proverbial expression about a camel in the Koran. Another explanation given by some is of a foot gate which was located next to a main gate in Bible times, known as the “needle’s eye.” The idea is that while a camel and rider could go easily through the main gate, the “needle’s eye” was low and narrow, and could only accommodate foot passengers.




The young man came running. He was eager; he was seeking for more. He believed Jesus had the answer. But he was like many of us. He had preconceived notions about what Jesus would have him “do.” And when Jesus shocked this rich, self-confident seeker with the revelation of the “one thing” he lacked and what it would cost him to fill that void, he staggered. His wealth was his stability. His security. To lose it and follow this homeless teacher—and what was this about a cross? Jesus looked at him steadily, His heart reaching out in love. But He knew what bound the seeker’s trust in its grasp. And He had to tell him the truth.

I’m sure Jesus’ heart ached as He watched him walk away, shoulders sagging, head down. But He didn’t run after him with an easier deal. Instead He looked into the eyes of His disciples who were closely watching and answered their unspoken questions. The beginning verses in our lesson are Jesus’ accurate word picture of the human impossibility of escaping the prison of prosperity, and as the disciples comprehended the strength of covetousness they staggered too. “Who in the world could even be saved?” Jesus gave an answer which lets us all know that only God can unravel a man from the net which wealth has wound around him.

Closely associated with the prestige of prosperity are pride and self-righteousness. Habakkuk’s assessment of the human problem of being lifted up and the only solution, faith and reliance upon God, and Jesus’ honest judgment upon the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:17) for their pride gives us a clear understanding of what He requires of us. Paul revealed the root of the problem of the self-righteous Pharisees: they were ignorant of their need and unwilling to submit. The verse from Proverbs describes the rarity of true, honest and humble people who trust only in God’s righteousness and are full of faith—not full of themselves.

It seems to be from the opposite end of the spectrum, but self-abasement works to hinder faith and trust in God as well, as pictured by Jeremiah’s protest to God when God called him to be a prophet. This form of doubting, coupled with a crippling fear of other people—what they might think; what they might do—as the verses from Numbers and Proverbs bring out, has hindered many aspiring Christians from spiritual conquest, ministry, and inner peace. Numbers 13 tells the story of the Israelites who had gone in to scout out the land of Canaan. Ten of the twelve spies came back with negative reports which sucked the courage right out of the already lagging spirits of the people. Joshua and Caleb tried to rally their brethren to look at the power of God instead of their incapabilities. “We are well able!” Caleb encouraged, a truth which tells us, “We are able because our God is able.” Doubt says, “I am not able. Can’t be done. It’s too much. I am just a…child…an illiterate person…a handicapped person…a woman…a man with failures—” and we draw back in unbelief.

In the memory verse, Jesus is questioning the disciples after they so totally lost their faith in Him when they were out on the lake in the storm. He was right there! How could they think they would perish! His words are a rebuke to us all. We too have doubted His love and care and power to keep us safe. It would be good for us to take His question seriously to heart: “Why am I doubting? Where is my trust? Why am I so afraid?”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Almost Impossible: What did Jesus say would hinder people from entering the kingdom of God? How did He express this near-impossibility?
  2. Not Upright/Just: What qualities make the difference between the two?
  3. Don’t Need a Thing: What church expressed this?
  4. Can’t Speak: What prophet brought this up to the Lord?
  5. Can’t Do It: Who said this to God? What did it cost them?
  6. Safe: This word describes the outcome of __________.




I am so challenged by the scriptures in this lesson, especially as I see my own struggles through the years mirrored by these examples. These were real people, just like you and me. Look how God dealt with them in love and mercy. We may judge the young rich man for his covetousness, the Israelites for their stubborn unbelief, the Laodicean church for their ridiculous pride, the disciples of Jesus for their silly fear, the Pharisees for their ugly superiority. Yet we must also take a good look at ourselves. These things are all Big Things in many lives. Where are the missing pastors, Sunday School teachers, evangelists or missionaries? Bogged down somewhere in the wilderness of material wealth or prestige; captured and pining away in cells of personal failures and inhibitions; or lost on the seas of fear and despair.

Bring your earthly treasures, your ambitions for greatness, your hangups and addictions, your fears, your embarrassing handicaps, your excuses—bring them all to Jesus. Hand them over. Confess them. Let Him answer the question, “Why am I so afraid?” And take His true wealth. Experience the conquest. Walk on the water. Discover the rest of humility and the peace of believing.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Along the path of our spiritual endeavors stand giant foes whose goal is to impede and ultimately stop our forward progress. And after escaping the clutches of one, we often encounter another equally prepared to bring our journey to a screeching halt.

Fear is one of the most successful giants of all. The fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of the unknown, the fear of man, etc, etc.—all play a major role in hindering faith and inciting spiritual terror in those who are susceptible to their tactics.

They have the ability to get into our minds and wage an emotional and psychological warfare. And even to enlist us in the fight against ourselves—low self-esteem, high self- esteem, self-doubt and every other selfish motivation that can hinder our faith.

On the screens of our imagination they project vivid pictures of the frightful scenarios that are “inevitable” should we dare continue down this path. And rather than believing God, we believe them. We believe what we “feel” and how we “feel.” Yet faith is not a feeling but feelings often hinder faith.

I once heard a preacher say “a good man feeling bad is still a good man and a bad man feeling good is still a bad man.” Our character is not dictated by our feelings neither is our faith in God. Faith is governed by the word of God and our obedience to it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

We must fight the good fight of faith in order to lay hold on eternal life. It matters not if we see the foe as giants of varying degrees or as the less intimidating reflection of ourselves. We must fight with the same resolve and tenacity. For our eternal welfare is contingent upon our success in this battle.

—Bro. Darrell Johnson