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)

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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 2 responses 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

Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
The apex of this thesis is very simple: 'Don't let societal traditions come between you and your relationship with the Lord.' 

Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword. He came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household (Mt 10:34-36). That's it. There's no cost to salvation, it's a gift, free of any charge or duty. There is a cost to discipleship, following Jesus, being in relationship with God through Jesus. 

I don't think Jewish history and traditions, nor an understanding of Greek translations and Aramaic idioms are needed to get to the bottom of what we're being taught here. This isn't algebra, it's simple arithmetic. 

Jesus seemed like an everyday person to most of the people who followed Him. He's the Son of God to us, we have the scriptures and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to teach us (Jn 14:26). To most of them, He was a plain old ordinary preacher. How would it sound to any of us if a preacher gave us an assignment, and we said we had something to do for a parent before we could do it, if the preacher said what Jesus said to that man? That's the real issue here. 

Back in that day, the father held the number one position in the hearts of the children the way the mother does today. Nowadays the man would probably use his mother as an excuse to delay going into the mission fields. 

Not only does Jesus make burying this man's parent a secondary concern, He tells the man that the people back there with his father is as dead as his father is. He's talking about the rest of the man's family and friends. We read this and some of us wax theologically superior to this man and suppose that we'd have answered Jesus differently if we had a concern about a family function that was of supreme importance to us. 

Let's take this narrative at face value. Let's not make this about "Jewish tradition," burying bones a year after the father is deceased, or any of that.. Let's imagine ourselves in this situation; the funeral is tomorrow and Jesus wants one of us to leave town and go with Him on a revival meeting tour in neighboring towns. We'll either stay and attend our dad's funeral, or go with this preacher. That's where this is; it doesn't help us to make this teaching about the man in the story and Jewish tradition. What's that to us? That only helps us deal with this as spiritual spectators, helping us to pretend this isn't a tough decision to try and get right.

I don't think the father had died, however. I believe the father was elderly and the man really meant that he didn't want to leave an elderly parent who needed him. To which Jesus replied that the man had others there who could take care of his father, who was in the same condition that his father was in. "Leave the dead to bury their own dead" (Lk 9:60). 'They'll do what has to be done there, you do what you have to do here.' 

There's a cost to discipleship. Before going into "the ministry" make up your mind about the cost. Don't begin and then add up the cost, tally it up before you start. "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (vs 62). By fit He means "suited, in harmony with." I think He wants us to expect opposition. 

Jesus tells us that persecution will come. "When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next..." (Mt 10:23) He didn't say 'turn back,' He said 'go on with your work, I'll join you before you get to everybody in Israel.' 

Who is worthy of a relationship with the Lord? "Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me" (Mt 10:37,38).

I'm glad you don't have to prove yourself worthy of Him to be in relationship with Him and live in eternity with Him. Who would be eligible?

April 28 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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