“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” the Queen responds when Alice says she can’t believe in impossible things (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass). Things in Wonderland don’t make sense to the girl. While I like to think I have as much imagination as any storybook character, I sympathize with Alice’s confusion. I also understand why Scripture calls the disciples perplexed in today’s passage (v. 24). When Jesus talks about camels kneeling to enter a tiny space, perplexed sounds about right. What in the world? With a grin and a wink, Jesus could have told the disciples: “I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” before pointing out that he is all about what seems to be impossible.
His claim begins with an upside-down, illogical thought. The very idea that wealth would prevent access to a space doesn’t make sense! Wealth is what usually affords access and power. Jesus turns that idea around to point out wealth’s weighty burden, and the ways that God’s kingdom does not operate by the powers usually at work in our world. As the confused disciples furrow their brows, Jesus confirms that his call is impossible, but he reminds them that God does the impossible. God’s kingdom will not be limited by our limited understanding of it.
Jesus talks about a community of God’s people that expands widely enough to encompass everyone, even people we despise, people who frustrate us, and people we don’t understand. Jesus says that the boundaries of God’s kingdom have nothing to do with how we understand power and access. Any time it seems impossible that “even these” people could be a part of God’s community, I imagine Jesus with a wink and a shrug.
When have you been perplexed by the ways God’s kingdom is shaping up? When have you been challenged to believe that God does impossible things?
God whose kingdom is ever-expanding, guide us to know the impossible wideness in your mercy. Amen.