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To get the context of that saying, let’s read Matthew 8:19-22, “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”  In this portion, we see two men and their thoughts of following the Lord.  In this chapter we are told of the Lord healing a leper in verses 1-3, healing the centurion’s servant in verses 5-13, and healing Peters’ mother-in-law in verses 14-15.  Then in verse 16, we find the Lord casting out demons and healing the sick.  In all likelihood, the scribe mentioned in verse 19 saw all these incredible events.  Perhaps he thought that if he followed the Lord, he might gain some physical benefit from being in His presence.  The Lord seemed to understand the underlying thoughts of the scribe and told him that He had no wealth.  He didn’t even have a house or a bed to sleep in that was His.

It is amazing the depth of poverty the Lord Jesus entered into for our sakes.  2 Corinthians 8:9 tells us, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”  In past eternity, He was rich.  Jesus is God and possessed all things. All creation belongs to Him.  Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”  Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ became poor for our sakes.  He was born in a manger.  He lived His adult life with no home to call His own.  He was forsaken of all as we read in Mark 14:27, “And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”  We read prophetically of the Lord on the cross in Psalms 88:18 which says, “Lover and friend hast thou put far from me…”  What a depth of poverty!  No bed, no home and no friends around Him to comfort Him as He hung on the cross of Calvary.  Yet, that poverty doesn’t even compare to the depth of poverty He endured when God forsook Him.  Let’s consider this sorrowful cry from the cross in Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  This is the depth of poverty that Christ endured for our sakes.  Even God forsook Him as He bore our sins on the cross.  He endured such poverty that we might be made rich.  In Ephesians 3:8, we read of the, “unsearchable riches of Christ.”  Although we may live lives without all the physical pleasures the world has to offer, in Christ, we are indeed rich.

Getting back to our question, we read of another man that approached the Lord.  We need to read Luke 9:59 to get a more complete understanding of what happened here.  That says, “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.”  Unlike the scribe, this man was specifically called to follow Christ.  Instead of obeying the Lord’s command, this man gave an excuse for not following Him.  Of course, as we read in Matthew 8:22 the Lord’s reply was, “…Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”  The Lord’s response to this man literally meant to let the spiritually dead bury those who are physically dead.  Is the Lord uncaring when our loved ones pass away?  Not at all!  Most of us are familiar with the incident of the death of Lazarus in John 11, where the Lord Jesus wept at his tomb before raising him from the dead.  The Lord is a compassionate High Priest as we read in Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  The Lord does care when we sorrow as He, Himself, sorrows along with us.

The response of this man to the Lord’s calling showed a resistance to obey the voice of the Lord.  Many biblical scholars believe that this man was asking the Lord to wait until his father was dead and buried before he began to follow him.  He was delaying his obedience to the Lord.  Of course, delayed obedience is disobedience.  We might consider this man’s response to be like this, “Lord…me first.”  He wanted to wait for a more convenient time to begin to follow the Lord.  He was putting his own needs and his own family above the Lord.  I’m reminded of an incident after the Lord’s resurrection.  Let’s read John 21:19-22, “…And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”

No matter what is going on around us, when the Lord calls us to follow Him, we should act with immediate obedience.  Peter was concerned about what other people should be doing.  The man in our portion was concerned about waiting before he began to follow the Lord.  There is so safer place; there is no more honoring place than in the center of God’s will.  The Lord has desired that we all should follow Him.  Will you follow Him, or will you offer an excuse?  (84.2)