“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 19:26
The call to follow Jesus is a call on a man or woman’s whole life. Belief is total, or it is unbelief. God is everything, or he is nothing. For anyone who becomes a disciple of Jesus, there is a command to die to the current way one is living, to repent, and to turn the opposite direction in order to go with Christ. Simply put, this is easier for those who don’t feel that they have much to give up. For the rich man, there is a greater difficulty there because he is accustomed to thinking he has everything he needs already. It does not, but for him to perceive this is “impossible” with man. However, the hope here is that God can even show himself to the rich man.
The statement follows a situation where a morally upright, law-abiding Jewish ruler, a lover of the Ten Commandments, asked Jesus what else he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. It doesn’t seem that the man wanted to give up anything about his current good life of high status. He only wanted to find out what else to add in order to also get heaven in the end. This man’s idol didn’t quite seem to be his wealth, but the status that often accompanies it. Jesus, who did not routinely demand that a person give up all his money for Christ’s sake, did demand this of the man. If the man had obeyed, not only would he have come down in status, but the poor around him would come up. Both of these factors would affect his status idol. He became sad because he realized he was not willing to do what the “Good Teacher” suggested. The lesson here, though, is that by the grace of God, he could have, and so could we.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 19:26
#1 “Jesus looked at them…”
Jesus, after explaining that it was hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, was asked by the disciples “who then can be saved” (Mt 19:25)? Jesus looked at them as one would before making an important point.
#2 “…and said, ‘With man this is impossible,”
The reality is that no one can resist the fleshly and sinful appetite for status that wealth brings unless God prevails powerfully upon their hearts. Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3).
#3 “but with God, all things are possible.”
Specifically applied here, it is possible because God is able to do whatever he wills, for him to save a rich man. The statement should be generally applied as well and should give great comfort to the disciple of Jesus. All things are possible because God exists and loves us. If something is his will, nothing can stop it from being done.
Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 14-28
Biblical Translations of Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.