OUCH!

11 Jan

 Two responses from Jesus in today’s reading may sound harsh. Especially to a man who wants to first bury his father.

“Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:22 NIV).

Trying to apply the observation technique (to look at what is here and the context of the verses surrounding it), here’s a short list from the beginning of chapter 8 up to verses 19 – 22):

  • Crowds of people are following and watching Jesus
  • Jesus performs miracles of healing (both to those in his presence, and to those petitioned for who are not in his presence)
  • Jesus is about to leave this area (see verse 18)

I interpret the men in verses 19 -22 have either just witnessed Jesus perform healings, or at least heard of it from others who did.  

The first offer to follow Jesus comes in verse 19.  Jesus’ reply speaks to expectations – ours. He has nowhere to lay his head, not even as good or reliable as a fox or a bird. I think he’s saying, “Don’t expect it to be great accommodations and easy-going.” Wouldn’t we expect that it might be if we just witnessed his power to heal?

The second offer (v 21) delays following Jesus until after a father is buried. We don’t know for certain a father is dead yet, maybe just ill, possibly just old. The man didn’t ask for his father to be healed either, which baffles me somewhat. The text tells us healings took place.

Perhaps this response shows his expectations to us. Don’t delay choosing me. Don’t put it in secondary position. Don’t say, ‘I’ll follow you when…’ or, “If I can first…”

In this context, the reply doesn’t show disregard for a father. (Notice Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in verse 14 of this same chapter.)

I can apply from these verses that I must not expect following Jesus to ensure comfortable or secure circumstances. I must be willing to have it take priority over anything else in my life.

Today’s Passages: Genesis 24:52 – 26:16; Matthew 8:18 – 34; Psalms 10:1 – 15; Proverbs 3: 7 – 8

Tuesday’s Passages: Genesis 26:17 – 27:46; Matthew 9: 1 – 17; Psalms 10: 16 – 18; Proverbs 3: 9 – 10  

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