It is hard for a rich man to enter heaven.
Why Jesus did say that? What did He mean?
Was He saying that the possession of money is the root of all evil, so any that possessed it couldn't get into heaven? No. It's the love of money that is the root of all evil, not the possession of it. There's a difference.
So then, what was Jesus saying?
He was talking to a group of people, of whom some thought that financial wealth, whether earned or inherited, was a reward for spiritual achievement or a favor from God.
Some of them actually believed that ALL of God's rewards were delivered during this life. How sad!
They had seen that rich people had a lot of control over their lives and their circumstances.
They could chose the finest foods and clothes. They could get influence with the leadership of both the religion and the government. Even when the government was run by foreign invaders, they could get better treatment.
They saw rich people avoiding mistreatment because of the power reflected in their money.
Money and wealth brought power that gave one control of circumstances and fulfilled one's desires. One did not have to accept reality if one had enough money because one could change reality to match one's desires.
This has been true for thousands upon thousands of years. Even today people either have or dream of having enough wealth to control their lives as they see fit. If you don't believe me, look around and see all the people saving money for their retirement!
On a side note, let me remind you that it is NOT true that "the possession of money is the root of all evil", it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. There is a difference between "love" and "possession". If you don't know, look out!
Jesus was not interested in helping people get control of their life, He wanted them to accept the Truth, to accept the reality of God and to turn control of their time, energy and life to God.
Those long involved with modifying their circumstances would have difficulty accepting God and God's love because they have no power over either one. No power at all.
How can money influence someone who owns millions of planets, more, millions of galaxies? How can a promise of something on this tiny planet of ours turn the head of the one who watches over the whole universe? No thing that we can offer can can enrich the Creator!
We can't even hire Him or boss Him around! Not only can we not order Him around, we are in no position to even tell Him what we can do for Him if we were to choose to serve Him!
God doesn't want us to fulfill our selves nor our dreams.
He wants us to surrender our selves and our dreams. He wants to be our boss (and more) and for us to voluntarily drop our plans and exchange them for His.
Heaven is the place of relationship with our Maker.
It is not a place where we get our way, but a place where we have accepted God's invitation to join Him in a loving relationship. It's like letting the manufacturer of your vehicle coach you on caring for your car. It only makes sense once you surrender and quit trying to do it all your way.
Rich people don't submit to someone else's desires very often.
The only way to get to know God is to submit to Him in a relationship. Only then will you get an invitation to God's house. That is why it is hard for rich people to get into heaven.
Is it easier for the poor? I mean, is it easier for the poor person to get into heaven? The answer is a resounding "No." It is also no harder for them.
No human can get in based on human effort. We all have barriers to our relationship with God, that we can not overcome without God's help.