Luke 9:60 “Let the dead bury their own dead but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”
     Jesus had asked a potential disciple to follow him.  The fellow said first let me go and bury my father.  You may think this sounds like a harsh reply from Jesus to a reasonable request.  The People’s Commentary writes: “Let the dead bury their deal.  Let the world attend to its own duties.  To preach the kingdom rises above every other duty.  The disciple was probably an apostle, who wished to stay with his father until his father’s death.”
     We don’t know what happened to this potential disciple or the entire background to the situation.  Did he go and bury his father?  Did he come back to Jesus afterwards?  Was the father’s funeral arrangements already being handled by his brothers or relatives?  Dr. R. F. Wilson writing about this Scripture ponders; “Now if the man’s father has just died, what in the world is the man doing hanging around Jesus?  He should be home making funeral arrangements!  It’s obvious that his father isn’t dead – yet.  Not even seriously ill, or the man would be asking Jesus for healing”  All Scripture provides us with is a clear statement of what Jesus’ priorities were for His disciples – ‘proclaim the kingdom of God.’
     In any situation where lives are at risk priorities are very clear.  If someone is already dead they are not a priority.  Those that are yet alive are the priority.  There is hope for them and the dead are gone.  We are in such a battle.  Times haven’t changed.  Like the potential disciple we live in a society where a pitched battle is going on between the forces of evil and good.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  (Ephesians 6:12)
     Reading any daily newspaper, listening to any radio news broadcast or watching the television news of the day will confirm the worst possible assessment or the depth of depravity this world has fallen into.  Canada is among the top ten countries for violent crime.  Moral indifference and confusion is evident on our streets and in our schools.  Only those with the dullest of spiritual sight would claim all is well with our society.  The Bible warns us; “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
     We don’t know the particulars of the potential disciple’s situation who wanted to put off following Jesus.  We do know the spiritual situation of the world we find ourselves in as well as that of the ‘delaying disciple’s’.  “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.  (Revelation 12:12)  The situation is grave and eternal lives are at risk!  Clear priorities are required even if they seem harsh.
     Dr. R. F. Wilson states that; “Jesus is speaking figuratively here of the spiritually dead – those who have put off following Jesus.  The spiritually dead put family responsibilities BEFORE their responsibilities to Jesus.  But the spiritually alive are to follow – NOW!”  The princes of this world and the forces of evil in the heavenly realms would have us shut up about Jesus.  Jesus in the same chapter warns us about the cost of shutting up;  “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)
     Once we open our eyes and take a good look around what seems harsh is simply what a dire situation demands.  Like Peter and John we must be faithful to our duty to witness;  “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than to God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”  (Acts 4:19,20)
     Praise the Lord!