Summary: "Another disciple said to him, ’Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’" Now this sounds like a reasonable enough request. I’m sure that Jesus, who cares so much about us, will agree to this. What does He say? Verse 22: ’Follow me, and let the dead b
Turn with me to Matthew 8:18-22. Here we find Jesus soon after the Sermon on the Mount. A man with leprosy has just been healed. The Centurion’s servant has been healed. Peter’s mother-in-law has been healed. Demons have been cast out, and many others healed. What a picture of Jesus’ ministry we get here. Total success! Now look at Matthew 8:18-20 (read).
Jesus knew this man’s heart. Some scholars believe this is ZJudah, volunteering for the job. The only disciple coming by his own; all others receiving Jesus’ call: Come, follow Me. So Jesus basically told him that he did not know what he was getting into. He knew that this man’s zeal would wear off very fast after leaving the comforts of his own home and life.
Look at Verse 21: "Another disciple said to him, ’Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’"
Now this sounds like a reasonable enough request. I’m sure that Jesus, who cares so much about us, will agree to this. What does He say? Look at V. 22: ’Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.’" What? Isn’t that a bit cruel. Hasn’t this man just lost his father?
NO. It is helpful to understand the conditions and customs of the times. First off, this man would not have been listening to Jesus if his father had just died. The death of a parent held a lot of responsibility for a son. Burial had to take place very quickly. Second, this man’s father was probably a healthy man out working. This was a common saying of the day. When my family responsibility is over, I’ll be free to do thus and so. This man was telling Jesus that when he had nothing else to do, he would find the time to follow him. Jesus was looking for disciples who were willing to give up what ever could hold them back.
The first man was over enthusiastic.
The second man was over cautious
The first man’s problem was his comfort.
The second man’s problem, excuse, was his family.
What’s your excuse? What could hold you back from fully following Jesus?
-The comfort of home?
-School or Career?
All these seem selfish in the light of the cross! It doesn’t have to be something big to keep you from fully following Jesus. I awoke one morning with a terrible pain in my eye. I had no idea why it hurt but I could not do what needed to be done that day with that kind of pain in my eye. I went to the Optometrist who spent a great deal of time examining my eye. Then he reached in with a swab and said there it is. On the end of the swab was a thread so small that I could hardly see it!
Small things can cause big troubles. I’m glad that I decided to go to the specialist instead of to my neighbor, or worse, myself. I would not have liked it a bit if the person examining me had a 2x4 in her eye! That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5 (read)
We shouldn’t be trying to do the work of the Great Physician on ourselves or on others. Each one of us needs to go to the Great Physician- Jesus- and let Him remove whatever it is that is holding us away from a full relationship with Him.
I know that Satan delights in causing small problems. Those intent on waiting for their problems to cease on their own or those who try to take care of them on their own are the spiritually dead waiting to bury the dead that Jesus spoke of. Jesus is coming soon! It is time to be ready - TODAY! It is time to have nothing keeping us from being full disciples of Jesus.
Our baptism was symbolic of the burying of self (What ever was keeping us from Jesus). The foot washing service is like a miniature rebaptism. Another chance to put self away so that we can once again be faithful disciples of Jesus. Let’s experience this now so that we can have a more complete communion with Him.
Call... and prayer...