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I’m Not Dead Yet!

Jesus is getting ready to leave town. He has checked out of “La Quinta Capernaum” and is headed down toward the docks. As always He is set about with crowds of folks who have been hanging on His every word.

And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” ~ Matthew 8:21

I don’t think this is one of the twelve. More likely someone who was on the hillside for the Sermon on the Mount, or one who happened to be in the synagogue when He declared His messianic mission a week or so earlier. But you know what, it might be one of the twelve for that matter.

In any case, it was someone who had been following long enough to be considered one of Jesus’ students. This word ‘disciple’ means ‘learner under discipline.’

Jesus’ answer always seemed a little cold to me.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” ~ Matthew 8:22

I am thinking there are a couple different ways Jesus could have handled this. He could have drawn a map in the dust of the region of Galilee and showed the man where He was heading, so He could catch up again. He could have gone with this man to his father’s funeral. For that matter he could have headed over and raised his dad from the dead.

But I suspect this is not what is going on. I have a hunch that the man’s father was not dead yet.

I knew a man once who made a strong profession of faith and was following for more than a year. But he was from a Jewish background, and his elderly mom was a good Jewish mamma.

One day we were walking together and he began to ask me about his mamma’s future, since she did not know Jesus.

I suggested we pray for her, and that we ask the Lord for ways that he could begin to tell her about what a difference Jesus had made in his life, and how she should come and get to know the Messiah.

He told me he could never tell his mother that he had become a Christian. His exact words were "It would kill her if she knew I was a Christian." He could never believe that his mom needed Jesus. She was a good Jew.

I have a hunch this is what is going on here. The question is not, can you give me 24 hours to take care of my father’s remains and sit with my relatives for a while. It is more like: As soon as my father passes away I will join your band of misfits.

This is why Jesus’ answer seems so harsh.

If you want to be My disciple, stop what you’re doin’, swallow what you’re chewin’, and follow Me.

  • Not soon
  • Not later
  • Not someday
  • Not when I am out of debt
  • Not when I get married
  • Not when I am out of school
  • Not when my children are out of the house
  • Not when I retire

Jesus’ call to you today is simple – Follow Me.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

Hey, don’t forget Friday’s coming – got questions – feel free to drop in at Friday Q&A so we can toss some ideas around.

0 thoughts on “I’m Not Dead Yet!

  1. bennetta faire

    Now see, I LIKE how you wrote this one today--expressing the various alternative responses Jesus Might have given. That helped me follow better to where you were going. I REALLY appreciated the anecdote about the Jewish guy, and I could relate to the entire well-formed post lesson. In my walk, each time I made a step--from getting saved at my friend's Bible camp, to points of renewed desire and re-commitment to Jesus--there was the issue of my family. I was already the oddball with them anyhow, and getting all Jesus-y didn't help my cause of "fitting in with them". So the process of following Him was continually hampered. My salvation was not impacted, but my growth got stunted and stagnated at various points. And certainly, living under the authority of my parents for a good bit of that early time, I had little control over things--limited ability to "break out".

    Maybe I'm saying all this in follow up to my position yesterday. Not everyone's situation is the same, and I don't know how old the folks were that you use in these lessons--if they're all fully functioning adults, then maybe they don't get a pass from Jesus, because He expected them to think for themselves.

    I feel bad for the guy who believed it would kill his Jewish mama, to learn he was a Christian--that's a horrible spot for a child of any age to be in. I believe Jesus understands how difficult it is for some of us to break from those kinds of ties--He sees that our desire for HIM is genuine, and thus creates a struggle which can be tormenting.

    I view this as quite different from the "rich young ruler" who didn't want to lose his wealth and toys, to follow Jesus. And different from folks I've known who "just want to have fun" (live a hedonistic lifestyle)--and don't think Jesus and "fun" could ever be so intimately intertwined.

    There are a million excuses, I guess--and maybe Jesus is more black and white about it all than I prefer to see Him. As I write this, somewhat tearfully, I believe Jesus is saying to me, "don't fret about it anymore--all those 'other folks' are not your concern; I know your heart--you just keep listening for My Voice; I've got you and I'm keeping you forever--you're Mine and that's never going to change".

    Good class, Prof--God bless you BIG. love, sis Cj

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      I can tell you for sure - that is the voice of Jesus - don't worry about other's relationship status. Sorry to drab you in to tearville. It was really sad about my friend. I did see him from time to time after that, but he pulled back from any Christian fellowship.

      You would have been proud of me today though - a friend at work was feeling all guilty because some radio preacher was telling her (at lease she was hearing it this way) that she should have her Bible on her desk all the time. But the boss told her not too. so she was feeling all guilty and condemned.

      I got all mama bear - like - turn off the radio if it is making you feel guilty - that is what Jesus died to set you free from.

      makes me crazy - then i turn around and do it my self -

      ah well - bless you my friend. Have a great evening.

      Reply

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