Advertisement

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Weird Jesus Sayings Continued: “Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead.”

Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:21,22

"Who's your Daddy?"

Advertisement

This is politically incorrect Jesus at, arguably, His best.  The one thing that every good Jew knew must take precedence even before daily morning prayers was to bury one’s father.  Only something earth-shattering, something like the long-awaited Jewish Messiah whose entrance would mean healing and restoration not just for Israel but for the world, could trump the primacy and urgency of this important ritual.

Which may be one reason why Matthew took such careful note of Jesus’ words.  He is drawing attention to the fact that the Messiah Himself is here in the flesh.  With that dawning reality, life as we once knew it will never be the same again.

But, what if, in the spirit of the whole “What would Jesus do?” thing, we were to try out Jesus’ words for size?  What if we were to apply a similar disregard for the many excuses we have heard for not following God’s call?  “My children really need me these days.”  Or, “my spouse has cancer and really depends on me for support.”  Or, “it is my responsibility to take on the family business.”

Advertisement

What if we were to say, in response, “Follow me, and let your kids take care of themselves,” or “Follow me, and let your spouse find support elsewhere,” or “Follow me, and let your family business find someone else to run it”?  We ministers like myself might be fired. Others of us might lose a friend or two.  We might even make it into a future edition of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People– only as an example of what not to do.

And I think Matthew would say that this is the whole point.  Because we don’t have Jesus’ authority.  We never will.

Only One who is either totally crazy or has a whole lot of authority, or both, can say something like this.  Could Jesus have been just a deranged, raving lunatic? I’m sure there are those who think so.  I prefer to rule that theory out on the basis of Scriptural witness and more than two thousand years of church tradition.

Advertisement

Which leaves me grappling with the other piece: authority.  Only One whose purpose is to heal and restore the world and who has the power to do this very thing can get away with this sort of language.  Only One on an urgent, life-saving mission, who has the much-needed vaccine in His back pocket in answer to the virus that is on the loose killing people, can talk this way.

These days most of us don’t like to talk about authority, unless it is our own and we are asserting it.  The idea that God in the person of Jesus Christ had a prior claim on our lives before we came along is, therefore, not very chic.  But there it is, anyway:  “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  It is shocking and unsettling- the way that only God can be.

Previous Posts

3 Quasi-Spiritual Lessons from the Ashley Madison Scandal
For those of us saints and sinners who even remotely have been following last week’s Ashley Madison scandal, I can think of at least three lessons it offers (and you may have more, in which case feel free to leave them below): 1. Chances ...

posted 6:14:59pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

John Oliver vs. Televangelists and Their "Big Seed" Prosperity Gospel
If you've not seen it, you must: John Oliver on "Last Week Tonight" offered the most brilliantly funny rebuke of televangelists and the prosperity gospel I've seen to date. Oliver doesn't mince words, including the four-letter ones, in blasting ...

posted 2:21:12am Aug. 18, 2015 | read full post »

How the Latest Revelations Re: ISIS' Systemized Sexual Violence Against Girls Remind Me I Am Not a Pacifist
As if ISIS had not already convinced us enough of its total depravity ... the latest revelations by The New York Times —(be forewarned, they are disturbing to read) — remind me why I am not a pacifist. As if turning small boys into child ...

posted 5:54:37pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Mustard Seed Faith and a Mustard Seed Kingdom of God, Via Mary Oliver
Last ...

posted 1:47:32pm Aug. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Beloved Lion, The Dentist Who Trophy-Hunted Him, and the Power of Shame
[caption id="attachment_5637" align="alignleft" width="300"] 13-year-old Cecil was the beloved resident of Hwange National Park, where earlier this July he was baited and killed for fun by Walter Palmer, DDS. The GPS collar Cecil was wearing ...

posted 2:54:27pm Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.