Another disciple said to [Jesus], “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22)
Before you rush to conclude that Jesus was being mean, the man’s father wasn’t officially dead yet. The Greek wording of the man’s request tells us this fact.
I’ve thought of this passage numerous times as we, as a family, have struggled with “living again.” Far from being insensitive, what Jesus gave us in his reply was a “full disclosure” of the dangers related to losing a loved one here on planet earth. We cherish & treasure the memories we have. The inherent danger is when those memories – sometimes even when we are unaware – become idols we worship. Memories, in that context, don’t help. They cripple – which is what the enemy (satan) desires.
Jesus saw beyond the request of this man (a “teacher of the Law” i.e. a religious leader with “good intentions”) far into the man’s heart, then warned him of this potentially crippling subconscious decision to set up “memories” as idols.
Two thoughts: (1) A friend recently posted the following: “One of the hardest things we learn, if we ever truly learn it this side of heaven, is to LEAVE our burdens, crushed dreams, heartaches, and fears. The heavier the burden, the bigger the dream that was crushed, the uglier the fear, the deeper the heartache, and the harder it is for us NOT to go back and pick it up, to try again to fix it ourselves….It’s okay to leave Jordan with Jesus.” (2) Jordan & I LOVED to watch movies with heroic battles. The battle scenes in “300” & “Gladiator” were two of our favorites. We’d turn the volume way up….it was epic. At the end of “Gladiator”, one of Russell Crowe’s inner circle of fellow gladiators buries carvings of his dead wife & son, looks to heaven, and says, “I will see you again. But, not yet. Not yet.” (“Not yet” meaning, “there is still work to be done on planet earth.”) nw
In a nutshell, that’s how I feel. Because of the cross and the empty tomb, I have found myself saying out loud when I’m alone, “My precious son, I will see you again. But, not yet. Not yet.” “Let the dead bury the dead,” Jesus said. “There is work to be done!” 🙂