When Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave the order to go to the other side of the sea. A scribe approached him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
“Lord,” another of his disciples said, “first let me go bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Following Jesus involves sacrifices. It can involve sacrificing the comforts of home. Jesus is more than worthy of such sacrifices because he is the “Son of Man”. This title comes from Daniel 7:13-14 where a ruler of heavenly origin who would reign over a universal and eternal kingdom is described. This was Jesus’ favorite self-designation and it is used twenty-eight times in Matthew.
And now we come to the verses that we as modern readers view as harsh, because it seems that Jesus is telling this poor disciple that he can’t even go and bury his father. However, that is not what Jesus was saying here at all. In fact what Jesus was actually saying was this, “Let the spiritually dead bury the physical dead.” Because the disciple Jesus was addressing probably wanted to wait until his elderly father died, which could have been years away. Yet Jesus knew that his time on earth was short and his ministry demanded full attention and commitment. This encounter is an example of the extreme demands and sacrifices required of those who follow Christ, because Christ must come first and everything else must come second.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Genesis 26:17-27:46, Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 10:16-18 and Proverbs 3:9-10