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.

Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Take a Look Ahead (or Behind) through the Lens of Expectations

    I like making lists. I like asking questions. I like making lists of questions. And that’s what I’ve done here on the topic of expectations for working cross-culturally. We all set out on the journey abroad with high expectations. Of course we do. Without those expectations we wouldn’t begin. But based on the realities we encounter, or on […]

    Excess Baggage: The Weight of Unmet Expectations [—at A Life Overseas]

    In the five years since Andrea Sears conducted her survey on missionary attrition, she’s been steadily analyzing and releasing the results, topic by topic. Late last year at her Missions Experience blog, she posted the data on how “expectations factors” affect missionaries’ decisions to leave the field. Her findings show that at least half of the former […]