Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?"… (Mt 19:23-30)
A camel passing through an eye of a needle has often raised many questions. Answers have also been given for that. Some say that there was gate, by name needle’s eye, to enter Jerusalem and any camel carrying luggage would have to unload before entering through the gate. There are others who say that the term camel could also mean a rope which would not enter through the eye of a needle.
But what Jesus is trying to explain to his disciples is that it is impossible for man to enter into the kingdom on his own. It is possible only for God. Man on his own will not be able to achieve it even if he tries very hard. All human calculations come to a dead end with regard to entering into the kingdom.
God’s way of working out things is totally different from the rest of the possibilities. God’s world works through the reversal of human world. Normal idea as we think does not work in the kingdom. Yes those who think that they are the first will find themselves ending up the last.
Now someone approached him and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, " 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother'; and 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mt 19:16-22)
It is enough to keep the commandments to enter into life. Yes, commandments are life oriented. Observing the commandments are sufficient enough to lead one to life. Here, interestingly Jesus answers the question of the young man. When the young man questioned him regarding the commandments Jesus replied narrating the commandments one by one. Jesus implied that the observing of these commandments would lead him to life.
But to be perfect, there is need for much more. Observation of the commandments would not be sufficient to make one perfect. Perfection comes only by giving up things of this earth and building up treasures in heaven. Does this mean that earthly things do not help one to be perfect? Earthly things are only to help to live in this world.
Commandments are good in themselves and they are helpful to achieve life. Perfection and following of Jesus need, to leave behind the things of this world. Earthly things are in no way useful in the other world. Attachment to God and following of Jesus are the key to perfection.