January 6, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
January 6, 2022
But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
Priority. This was that which Jesus taught the disciple that asked to be excused to bury his father. As it also is today, the burial of a loved one is a complex thing, especially in the time which Jesus walked on the earth. They had to personally prepare the body, they usually had a feast, a time of mourning etc. Perhaps the Lord knew something about the character of this disciple. Perhaps the Lord knew that if he left to tend to this burial that he would never return. That’s an assumption, but one thing is not.
Jesus said: Let the dead bury their dead. The dead are those who are dead to the things of God, spiritual things, eternal things, and the like. They are dead to the Gospel and the work of it. To be dead means that a body is no longer subject to natural influences. Likewise, for the dead to bury their dead means that those who were alive in the flesh but dead to the Gospel are no better than the one dead, neither are they of benefit for the work of God. They are dead spiritually in that they are not subject to spiritual influences any more than the physically dead person.
Perhaps James sums it up better: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26) A dead faith has no works, no growth, no life, it is no better than a dead body. Speaking of course about the spiritual work of the Lord Jesus Christ in this Gospel era. These “dead” may earn a nice living, may entertain many friends, have wonderful vacations, great houses, and many trinkets. But as far as works of faith, none. For they are dead to faith because their faith has no works.
So, let the dead bury the dead and let the living carry on the work of our Lord. Honor your parents and other loved ones at their end-of-life ceremonies, certainly. But if that becomes a reason to be excused from the work of faith. Be careful, be very careful, for that short pause may be extended into a lifelong absence. To avert this, live by priority. The Lord God and His cause being top priority always. After all Jesus said it like this
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Luke 12:31
William T. Howe, Ph.D.