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The Dead Bury the Dead

The Dead Bury the Dead

      In Matthew chapter 18 we find Jesus soon after the Sermon on the Mount. A man with leprosy has 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. You got the picture.
      Now look at Matthew 8:19-20:  Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
      Jesus knew this man's heart. He knew that he was sincere. But He 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 Jesus 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 of all,  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 excuse was his comfort. The second man's excuse was his family.

    What's your excuse?
What could hold you back from fully following Jesus?

- The comforts of home?

- Family?

- Friends?

- School?

- Work?

- Traditions?

- Prejudice?

- A Grudge?

      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…
      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.

The book "Evangelism" by E.G. White, says 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.