Tag Archives: jesus commands

Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead

"Let the dead bury their own dead."
“Let the dead bury their own dead.”

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

~ Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg
Image Credit:
http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg

What do you think when you read this scripture? Does it sound harsh to you? Does it seem like Jesus is being really cold in light of the pain the disciple must be feeling at the death of his father? I always struggled with that passage, and I’ll be honest with you, I prayed the Lord would give me the wisdom to understand this and to share it with you (and me too!).

And then I started thinking about it, and the Lord opened my eyes as He taught me… Let’s take note of the first thing that Jesus says to the man — “Follow Me…” Think about it. Jesus commanded the disciple to follow Him. He gives us the same command today, and we must make a choice. Will we follow Him? Or will we go our own way?

“Follow Me”, Jesus commands us, and we mustn’t let anything get in the way of this command. We must choose to follow Him, no matter what our circumstances are. If all is well, we must follow Jesus. If it seems as though all hell has broken loose, we must follow Jesus. Our lives depend on obeying this command to follow Jesus.

Now think about this, Jesus is LIFE, and this disciple wanted to leave LIFE, to go and be with his dead father. Yes, this was his father, but his father was dead. Really, there was nothing more that could be done for his father, but there was every reason for him to follow the One in whom there was LIFE.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

~ John 1:4-5 — NKJV ~

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

~ John 11:25-26 — NKJV ~

Let’s look at the passage of scripture we are studying again…

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

When I read this passage now, I see the harshness of Jesus’ response borne out of love for His disciple. The disciple wanted to leave Christ to bury a dead man first. Think about it… Not only was this disciple putting something else ahead of the Lord, he was putting a dead man ahead of Him!

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

~ Revelation 1:17-18 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg
Image Credit:
http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg

This disciple wanted to put a dead man ahead of the One who is the First and the Last. He was going to put a dead man, who had already lived his life — “Yes,” you may say, “but this was the man’s father!” — ahead of the One who holds the keys of death and the grave. Yes, although the dead man was the disciple’s father, he was dead. There was nothing more he could do for his father, because he was no longer among the living. What remained was the disciple, and the choice he made would determine whether he would be among the living or the dead.

Jesus’ statement, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead,” reminds me of one of my favorite passages in Deuteronomy 15, when Moses addresses the people of Israel, giving them the choice between life and death. I believe that this was Jesus’ message to His disciple and to every other man, woman and child who would follow, that they too must make a choice…

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

~ Deuteronomy 30:15-20 — NLT ~

Don’t you see the choice Jesus gave the young man? “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” We can follow Him and let the dead bury their own dead, or we can leave Him to be with the dead… When He says, “Follow Me,” I can almost hear Him saying, just as Moses said to the children of Israel, “Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” And now, after praying and meditating on this word, it no longer seems as though Jesus is being harsh. This passage is just another example of the wonderful, matchless and unmerited love of Christ for each and every one of us.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Sh! Don’t Tell Anybody

http://lindatravelute.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/images-21.jpeg

“Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do — blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-6 NLT)

Does anyone else struggle with this portion of scripture? I don’t mean to imply that I don’t understand what it says, because its meaning is abundantly clear! When I ask if anyone else struggles with this scripture, I mean does anyone else have difficulty living this one out?

There Jesus goes again, turning my world upside down. You see, my whole life I’ve bent over backwards to win people’s approval, first my parents, then later my teachers and later still, anyone’s approval! And then He comes into the picture and tells me to stop doing what I’ve always done – the only thing I know how to do.

Just when I think I’ve got a handle on things, and I’m really starting to do what’s right in my walk with the Lord, He shows me that I’m still not like Him as much as I want to be. “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

So again, I’m thrown into a quandary. What happens when I try to walk this out, and people reward me with their praise? Do I lose out on God‘s blessing?

I don’t want to do that. You see, as much as I want others to love me and validate me, I NEED His love and approval, because the truth is, I could still write, preach, and minister without another person ever witnessing it, but, without His anointing, without His presence, without Him giving me the words, the heart and the mind to write and minister, I couldn’t do it!

Yes, it feels good when you deliver a powerful word from the Lord, and people confirm it. But, as I’ve said before, it also makes me apprehensive… What if my motives are wrong? What if I’m trying to please people more than Jesus? Lord, what if I’ve totally missed the mark?

And then, things become more challenging for me when Jesus speaks about prayer. “And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6 NLT)

So, here’s my other dilemma. I’m a minister. I minister in prison and I’m part of the ministerial staff at my church, as well as being a Sunday School teacher, and I’m often called on to pray – Publicly – where others hear my prayers. And again, when I’m writing, I often pray as I write, and everyone who reads my posts, may at some point or other read my prayers.

Lord, am I cheating myself out of Your blessings? 

And I hear words of the Lord saying, The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:8-9 NLT) 

http://sheddinglightonthepath.blogspot.com/2012/05/jesus-prayer-for-you-and-me.html

You see, according to this, I don’t even know how wicked my heart really is, and my heart is likely to lie about its motives. I might think I’m doing the right thing for all the right reasons, when in reality, my heart may have deceived me. So, now what?

All I (we) can do is cry out to the Lord. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT) 

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. (Psalm 51:10-12 NLT)

He knows our hearts, better than we do, and He is able to search them out. Praise God, He is so faithful too, telling us that if we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us and clean us up from all unrighteousness. Aren’t you grateful for that? I know I sure am.

So, in conclusion, God is interested in the motives of our heart. What motivates us to minister, to give, to pray or to serve? Is it the accolades we receive from others? If so, we’ve already received our reward. Do we do it for recognition? If so, that is our reward.

But what if we write, we pray, we preach and we minister, because His word is like a fire shut up in our bones and we grow weary when we try to hold it back? If some people are inspired by those words or “like” them, then we must make sure that we let them know they’re not our (my) words, but only a gift from Him. And if they dislike those words, they’re still His words, not ours (mine), and it’s all for His glory, and not ours (mine).

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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Words of Jesus – Turn the Other Cheek & Love Your Enemies!

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.’ But I say, don’t resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.

“If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48 NLT)

This where a real man or woman of God proves their mettle. Do you love Jesus? Give up your rights… That’s a powerful message for the church in America today.

One of the things we do well in this country is defend our rights, and if we believe someone violates those rights, we take them to court. Imagine with me for just a few minutes what it would be like to live in a world where we obeyed Jesus’ commands… and understand this, Jesus wasn’t interested in whether His commands were fair or unfair.

I believe it comes down to love. Do I choose to love the person who takes the credit for something I did? If I do, let him/her have the credit. God knows the truth. Do I choose to love the person who just took the shirt off my back? If I do, then let me get my coat and give that to him/her as well. And what if my boss unjustly demands that I stay and work overtime for an extra hour without overtime pay? If I love him/her, not only will I do it, but I’ll stay as long as it takes to complete the project.

http://fifchristian.com/messagemanager/listen/44

This kind of thinking goes against the grain. It goes against everything we’ve been taught in our lives. Jesus takes everything we’ve ever been taught about what’s fair and just, what’s right and wrong, and He turns it upside down. He tells us to do things that rub us wrong, things that make every hair on the back of our necks stand on end.

He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Love my enemies??? Pray for those who persecute me??? Lord, don’t you even care about my feelings? This doesn’t make a bit of sense! 

What about justice? What about right and wrong? How do you love someone who has abused you? How do you love someone who has mortally wounded you? And you’re asking me to pray for someone who has permanently damaged me? You’re asking me to pray for them and not against them? What kind of sense does this make? I don’t understand!

 “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Ok Lord, but You just commanded us to be perfect just as my heavenly Father is perfect. Everybody says nobody’s perfect, so how can You tell me to be perfect? Isn’t that impossible?

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)

Ok Lord, I hear what You’re telling me and I want to believe You, but how can I love my enemies and be perfect like You are? Help me Lord, to see things as You see them, to see people as You see them, and to love them as You love them… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)

Thank You Lord!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers