Today’s reading: Luke 9:46-62
Today we read one of Jesus’s most enigmatic statements in all the Bible:
And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60
This is a statement that is very difficult to comprehend. Surely burying the dead is an important and worthy task. Doing so would be the requirement of any good son. What then is the purpose of Jesus invoking such a disturbing example?
The traditional view is that Jesus is emphasizing the importance of placing the kingdom of God first before all things. That explanation certainly works. However, I think it can be interpreted in a second way. Who are the dead? Well with Christ, just because a body is dead that doesn’t mean the person is dead. Jesus himself says that God is, “the God of the dead, but of the living”. So here, consider if Jesus is not talking just about the physically dead but those that are spiritually dead. Then the phrase takes on new meaning. Jesus is saying, “let those who are lost deal with dead, your go out and try to save those who can be still be saved.” Jesus is not just saying to put the kingdom of God first but to do so with great urgency! For it is too late for some who are lost but we must proclaim the good news to save the rest.
Tomorrow: Luke 10:1-24