What did Jesus mean when He said 'Let the dead bury the dead'?


Luke 9:60

ESV - 60 And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead," in response to a disciple who wanted to spend time at home before committing himself to the Lord. Jesus said, "'Follow me.' But the man replied, 'Lord, fir...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

1340324413 Chris Eleam Chris Eleam
Not long after Jesus urged his followers to “keep on . . . seeking first the kingdom,” an incident happened that illustrates how a man’s heart condition is indeed revealed by what he puts first in life. Gospel writer Luke introduces the incident by stating that Jesus “firmly set his face to go to Jerusalem” even though he well knew what eventually awaited him there. While he and his apostles “were going on the road,” Jesus met some men to whom he extended the invitation: “Be my follower.” Those men were willing to accept Jesus’ invitation—but on certain conditions. One man replied: “Permit me first to leave and bury my father.” Another said: “I will follow you, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those in my household.” (Luke 9:51, 57-61) What a contrast there was between Jesus’ firm, whole-hearted resolve and those men’s weak, conditional offers! By placing their own concerns first, above Kingdom interests, they revealed that their heart was not complete toward God.

The example of Peter, Andrew, James, and John stands in sharp contrast. When Jesus invited them to follow him and become fishers of men, the Bible states: “At once abandoning the nets, they followed him.” (Matthew 4:19-22) By readily making that decision, they personally experienced what Jesus later told them: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:29, 30) While baptism does bring a yoke of responsibility, Jesus assures us that it is a kindly and bearable one that will refresh us immensely.

To another man, Jesus says: “Be my follower.”
“Permit me first to leave and bury my father,” the man answers.
“Let the dead bury their dead,” Jesus replies, “but you go away and declare abroad the kingdom of God.” The man’s father evidently had not yet died, for if he had, it would be unlikely that his son would be here listening to Jesus. The son apparently is asking for time to await his father’s death. He is not prepared to put the Kingdom of God first in his life.

July 31 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Georg Kouz
It is of vital importance to know Biblical Greek and Aramaic language in order to understand and get the exact meaning. You have to dig very deeply in the ground in order to find the treasure and grasp whole meaning of the Bible. The Bible is full with Greek and Aramaic idioms that is not easy to grasp from different translations/transliterations.

'Let the dead bury the dead' its an Aramaic idiom which means: LET THE TOWN/COMMUNITY BURY ITS DEADS. 

Its the same word in Aramaic for town and dead.

May 10 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Eric Hunter
This refers to the Hebrew custom of two burials. After decomposition, the bones were removed to a final resting site. The father had already been buried and was now to receive the secular reburial. As a tradition event,  devised by man, it should not have stood in the way of the disciple's following of Christ

July 31 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Cassius Ash
Jesus said that because the dead were not necessarily His concern, but saving the souls who had not died. He only raised the dead because He was asked to do it and to show that He was the only person that could perform that miracle and allow others to do it as well.

July 31 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

1471290658 Donna Gilley
(The dead) John said he that hath the son hath life,he that hath not the son of God hath not life, Jesus had given life to his  followers ,those 
Family members and friends they would leave behind ,that didnt follow Jesus had no call for the mission ,that the  disciples had, 
So Jesus said let the dead bury THERYRE dead ,but follow me,in other words follow the way of life

August 02 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Heman Awang
Frankly speaking it is only by the Grace of God that the flash could really be put to death. And this is humans major problem.

We hold unto our traditional believes which are not Christ's, we don't want to let go of it, I mean all those funeral activities we inherited from our forefathers.

When Jesus said "let the dead bury their death", he simply mean thus that refused to believe him are the dead. Just as the author of this topic stated earlier, Jewish burial process could take up to a year, Jesus meant it was wrong. If I may ask where comes from the Jewish burial practice, does God really commanded them to do so? 

Let somebody not get me wrong Jesus does not condemn burial but how you conduct your burial is what matters

March 25 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Andy  3 photo Andy Mangus I am a Christian since October 1979 & devoted truth seeker.
To me and my desire to put a 'simplistic touch' on this question that can be expressed in a simple way is this: God, through His Son, Jesus Christ wants 'us, His children to be about going forth into all the world, both near and far, doing "the work of the Lord! What does this mean? It means witnessing, teaching and sharing His Holy Word with anyone that will receive our witness kindly and without confrontation, while allowing His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and with all perseverance unto the Lord. 

Again, simply put: "sharing the Gospel,(the Good News of Jesus Christ, our risen savior, our redeemer, The lover of our eternal souls,) is The Greatest Commandment that Jesus spoke of while He was in the flesh. He is "King of Kings, Lord of Lords and All Honor, Praise and Worship belongs to Him, for only He is worthy." --Andy--

Being a witness to any and every person we encounter in an acceptable setting is the most honorable, most valuable and most important task we can strive to achieve as a "child of The KING, OUR LORD, OUR CREATOR AND BLESSED SAVIOR"!

July 29 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Jesus was not discussing the individuals who were truly dead, yet of the individuals who are profoundly SPIRITUALLY dead (cf. Eph. 2:1). Jesus mentioned that the man follow Him (Luke 9:59). The man reacted saying he wished to deal with his family first. So the issue is, who GETS FIRST PLACE—one's family or Jesus Christ? The appropriate response Jesus gives shows the otherworldly condition OR STATUS of this current man's family. They were obviously not devotees, and the Bible says that the individuals who are not Christians are "dead in TRANSGRESSIONS and sins" (Eph. 2:1, 5). Jesus was telling the man that his profoundly dead family should deal with the entombment. Jesus needed this man to follow Him. Christian apprenticeship calls for high responsibility. Would-be followers need to be followers who must forsake their families in order to follow Jesus (Matt 8:21-22). Don't let kinship keep you from becoming Jesus' disciple (Luke 9:59-62).

October 19 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining