Matthew 8:18-22

18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

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.”

Master (v.19) = Teacher

Son of Man (v.20) — how the Lord most frequently referred to Himself — from Daniel 7:13 — used to emphasize that He was the Messiah, often in connection with His rejection

bury my father (v.21) — probably means “wait until my father dies”

Let the dead bury their own dead (v.22) — means “let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead”

The two men mentioned here, the scribe and the disciple, seem to be used as examples of how many responded to Christ. There were those who were caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment who had no idea of the cost demanded. And there were those who were impressed but unwilling to fully commit.

The occasion also appears in Luke 9:57-62, with the addition of a third disciple who asked leave to say goodbye to his family. The Lord responded by telling him he couldn’t have divided priorities.

All of this must be understood, in a physical sense, in light of the immediacy of the kingdom. In this age, spiritually, our devotion must be to Christ, but we are also told to care for those who depend on us.

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