We’re going to look at a second story from the Bible this week, this one about Jesus in Luke 9:57-60
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Just like yesterday’s story, this is a tough one to interpret, since we probably didn’t expect this kind of response from Jesus. It sounds to us like the man’s father just died, and Jesus says he can’t mourn. He comes across as cold and even cruel, but mostly because we lack cultural understanding. There are again two possibilities for why he responds this way:
One option: The man’s father is actually dead, sometime in the recent past. He’s been put in a very hot middle eastern tomb. The son wants to wait up to a year, so he can go and place his father’s bones in a bone box, an ossuary, for secondary burial in a family tomb. This would have been a very important duty for a Jewish son, but Jesus says it’s not as important as God’s kingdom.
Another option: This is a stall tactic. The man’s father is not dead. The son wants to wait until his father dies and leaves him the inheritance. He only wants to follow Jesus when there will be no financial risk.
Following Jesus looks different today – it’s not as simple as joining his entourage on a dusty road. It changes us in many other ways, and we’re going to explore lots of those changes in the next few weeks.
Either way, we’ll be tempted to delay. We’ll want to put off financial changes until we retire, service changes until we have more time, and so on. But Jesus’ response to this man should inform us that Jesus needs to be first in our daytimer.
Question: What aspect of following Jesus are you tempted to put off?
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