let the dead bury the dead; let the dead bury their dead; let the dead bury their own dead

forget the problems of the past and look ahead
—I know that our grandfathers were enemies all their lives, but that shouldn’t affect our relationship. Let the dead bury the dead and let’s be friends.

People were amazed at Jesus’ teaching and many wanted to become his disciples, but Jesus told them that following him would require sacrifice. One of these people was a teacher of the Jewish law, who came to him and said, 

“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead [let the dead bury their dead].” (Matthew 8:19-22)

By saying “Let the dead bury their dead,” Jesus was telling the man to let those who were spiritually dead take care of burying those who were physically dead. This was a blunt way of saying that devotion to Jesus needed to come before even duty to family.

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