“Jesus said to another man, "Follow me!"
But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
But Jesus said to him, "Let the people who are dead bury their own dead. You must go and tell about the kingdom of God." Luke 9:59-60 NCV
If we only had Luke’s account, we could not be certain about the fact that this man was already one of the Lord’s disciples; but Matthew makes that fact perfectly clear.
“Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” (Matthew 8:21 NLT)
This man had been called. He was one of those like Matthew, Peter, James, and John to whom Jesus had come, to whom He had said, "Follow Me." Being called, he was a believer. He was a true disciple.
He was, in fact, one of those whom Jesus was about to send out with the group of 72 gospel preachers. It seems that he was willing to go, and wanted to go; but he desired a deferment for a while, because he had another, more pressing, more important responsibility. Before he could go out preaching, he must first take care of his family’s needs. He said, "Lord, let me first to go and bury my father."
Why, then, did the Lord Jesus respond to this man’s request the way He did? – "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."
The Lord was simply saying this: -- There are others who can and will take care of that matter. You have more important things to do. There are other people to bury your father. I have called you and sent you to preach the gospel.
Without question, there are lots of dead people who need burying; but there are plenty of spiritually dead people to bury them. Those who have been called of God to preach the gospel must never be turned aside from their calling. The only method God uses for the building of His Church and Kingdom is the preaching of the gospel. All other that is built with wood, hay, and stubble will be burned.
Then, there are some who attempt to serve Christ with divided loyalties, like the man in our text, attempting to be part time preachers.
They are willing to be preachers and are willing to serve Christ. But they put off their service to Jesus, dividing their time and energy between Christ and other matters of concern and responsibility. They fail to understand that those who are called of God to preach the gospel must give themselves entirely to the work of the gospel ministry: to prayer, to study, to worship and to preaching.
“Let no one show little respect for you because you are young. Show other Christians how to live by your life. They should be able to follow you in the way you talk and in what you do. Show them how to live in faith and in love and in holy living.
Until I come, read and preach and teach the Word of God to the church. Be sure to use the gift God gave you. The leaders saw this in you when they laid their hands on you and said what you should do. Think about all this.
Work at it so everyone may see you are growing as a Christian. Watch yourself how you act and what you teach. Stay true to what is right. If you do, you and those who hear you will be saved from the punishment of sin.” I Tim. 4:12-16 NLV
The gospel of Christ alone is the power of God unto salvation!