Anglican Morning Devotion for 1 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“. . .And they went to another village. 57And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:56-62)
There are many references in the Bible to the term, “Follow Me.” I will only reference select passages for the sake of brevity. In the calling of His disciples, Jesus most often simply told the disciple at his busy work to “Follow me” and that disciple immediately arose and followed. Each were chosen by our Lord – not a case of the Lord being chosen by them. Sheep that do not belong to the shepherd will never follow him. In the narrative from the text above, one came expressing a desire to follow the Lord; however, he was apparently not chosen to do so. Others were called and not chosen consistent with the Gospel. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:15-16; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
Our Lord teaches in such simple terms that the most salient of His points are often missed in our understanding. The object of my devotion today is more of the meaning of the exchange in verse 59 & 60 above in the introductory text “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
This passage may seem somewhat arcane to those who are beginners in Bible study; however, they reveal a precise truth concerning the plight of the saved compared to the lost sinner. For example, why would Christ make such a comment as “Let the dead bury their dead?” Our human understanding of death immediately wonders at such a statement and may think it verges on the ridiculous since we cannot imagine the dead, in our limited understanding, burying the dead. Well, Mr. or Mrs. Bible scholar, how is that possible?
Who are the dead? Well, there are two types – the physically dead and the walking dead, or spiritually dead. Just as spiritual death occurred the moment Adam partook of the forbidden tree, so are all of his generation dead in the spiritual life until called by Name to arise from our spiritual tombs as did Lazarus from his physical tomb. Those who know not Christ as Lord and Savior are dead spiritually and will suffer the second death at His coming – they are literally the walking dead in the same sense of a zombie. It was these dead to whom our Lord made reference in His comment. This doctrinal truth is elaborated in the following:
“And you hath he quickened (literally, made ALIVE), who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:1-9)
The third petitioner claims he will follow Christ after first going home to bid farewell to his family. This reveals a misplacement of priorities – the first priority of every Christian is to follow Christ now and forever. There is no excuse to delay our commitment to follow. Our focus should always be fixed on Christ and His Way, Truth, and Life. If we are drawn back to prior desires, even temporarily, our walk will not be steady nor straight. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” When plowing, if we look back instead of forward, our row will be crooked and lean in the direction of our backward look.