LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spiritually dead?

If you do not believe that being "spiritually dead" means that man is in absolute need of God's hand for total regeneration, what do you think Jesus meant when He said, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead." (Luke 9:60a)

Labels: ,

19 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

Ironically, the verse is rendered "Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead..." in my New Living Translation. When I read this Sunday morning, it brought this post's question to mind.

October 14, 2007 11:17 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

I like to think that it is Christ who opens eyes, and that until Christ allows it, no one will see a thing even though it is a truth that seems plain as day to those whom Christ has given light.

When I come into a situation such as we find between those who "see" the doctrines of grace as truth, and those who do not, I am careful to remember the one who is more likely to have his or her eyes closed to the truth is the one who is most unwilling to critically examine what he or she believes. Thus while I imagine that I see the clear truth of this passage - that is, that we are all "stillborn" spiritually speaking when we come into this world, that we are dead spiritually from the get go, and that is why we trespass and sin and are dead -in- such things, as opposed to -by- such things - I say, while I imagine that I am not deceived, yet I am careful to leave room for instruction even in this simplest of truths.

It seems to me more obvious than the sun in the bright noon sky, yet I remember that if this is truth I have not come to it because I am wise, but because Christ has opened it to me, such that it can never be closed, and that if someone else doesn't see it, it must mean that either Christ has not opened the truth to that person yet; or alternately that I am the one in darkness, and that they have more light. If the latter, I must be on guard that I do not look to my high-fiving friends as the plumb-line for truth, for if I am deceived thus, surely I have surrounded myself with those who share in my deception. No, I must line up my understanding with the only plumb we are given: scripture.

Given therefore that God gives grace to the humble, I am careful I hope, because I desire to be sincere, to always be willing to genuinely examine what I believe to be truth, because if I -am- deceived, I certainly won't know it, but I do know that being adamantly unwilling to examine what I believe would be the best indicator that I am more likely the one who is "off". If I believe myself to be holding the truth and remain teachable, then that humility will carry me in grace to the genuine truth, if indeed God gives grace to the humble, and of this I am sure He does.

My point being only that this is one of those plain-as-day truths, but let us not imagine that everyone can see it. Let us reason that those who do not see it are blinded as opposed to obstinate. Let us also be sure that in humility we examine our own opinions as we hear others to see if the reason we hold them is because scripture plainly teaches the thing, or because we have in this passage (or any other for that matter) some conclusion we have drawn elsewhere and are projecting into this (or any other) passage. It is not the default position of most interpreters to try to fit every verse into those preconceived conclusion they have already drawn from the remainder of their theology?

Either way I hope this verse opens some eyes.

October 15, 2007 8:16 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

The Lord sure knows how the seperate the sheep from the goats.

Is there anyone today, if someone came and said, "I'd love to come to church with you, but I have to attend to my father's burial", who would say "Let the dead bury their own dead: but you need to go and preach the kingdom of God".

Perhaps it may not be appropriate today, however, I think we need more hard sayings like these spoken in our churches, who have become soft as cream-puffs.

Thanks Susan for sharing that. I never thought of that verse in that way before. I think you are spot on.

People, if not born again, are walking corpses, we do need to remember this, when we are speaking the truth in love to them. Praying for them is imperative, so that God would open their hearts, as He did ours.

October 15, 2007 8:41 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
I was dead for a long time and the Word was foolishness to me. I am convinced that changes were wrought in me that allowed me to start understanding and believing.

As Daniel says the only plumb line is Scripture. You can usually tell when someone is using other than Scripture by their words. Such statemets as: "My God would....", "Who's to say what is true....", "I believe....", "It's not important what you believe, but.....", "As long as you try to live a good life....", "I believe religion is a personal and private....."

October 15, 2007 8:49 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

I found this onCoffman Commentaries and found it very intersting...
Verse 60
But he said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God.

Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 8:18-21) records the event of these first two prospects, the same being one of the few places that either of the other synoptics touches this section. Even here, Luke gave a fuller account; and it is doubtful that he had before him either Mark or Matthew. If other synoptics had been "sources" of Luke, there is every reason to believe he would have mentioned them in his preface.

Leave the dead to bury their own dead ...
There can be no higher priority than one's duty to the Lord Jesus Christ. Earthly rulers had long been accustomed to claiming of their subjects an allegiance that set aside all other duties; and the Lord, by such a statement as this, demanded for his own holy purposes an allegiance even greater and more binding than that given to generals and kings of the earth. A good example of such earthly demands of allegiance is the following battle call which marked the campaign of Donald Balloch in 1431.



Come every hill plaid and True heart that wears one; Come every steel blade and Strong hand that bears one. Leave untended the herd, The flock without shelter; Leave the corpse uninterred, The bride at the altar. Leave the deer, leave the steer, Leave nets and barges: Come with your fighting gear, Broadswords and targes. F16
Jesus in this passage demanded such a priority for his holy kingdom, but with this monumental difference, that Jesus called men to life and eternal salvation, whereas earth's chieftains call men for shame and death.

The dead to bury the dead ...
has reference to those who are spiritually dead burying their own dead. Yet it is true even in these times that services for the literal dead have been made to conflict with spiritual duties. People who plan and conduct funerals in such a manner as to coincide with regularly scheduled worship services of the church out of respect to their convenience are in violation of the priorities mentioned here.

Cristina

October 15, 2007 9:27 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Daniel,

I didn't mean to provide instruction in this post, rather to ask the question how other folks read that.

Because I myself had never considered it until reading "those who are spiritually dead" in my New Living Translation Sunday morning. It hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. Seemed so clear in an instant.

However, prior to Sunday, I really had never given that passage much thought - other than the instruction by Jesus that if you're going to follow Him, you need to turn your back on other things - even close kin and family -
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

Anyway, that kind of thing. I read simply in that verse that we need to wholeheartedly offer our bodies as a living sacrifice - that we are wholly His. Prior to yesterday, I hadn't seen in that verse that likewise we are spiritually dead, even though I believed so from other verses ("dead in trespasses," etc).

Kind of like how once the doctrines of grace shined light on Scripture for me, the term "born again" meant what it says. Prior to my knowledge of the doctrines of grace, I always kind of read over those words as sort of a turn of phrase. Never giving it much thought.

I am in agreement that only the Holy Spirit illumines. Interestingly, the more He does so, the more I quake. I am comforted and fear at the same time, if you know what I mean. The more He grants me understanding, the more I tremble at His Word. It's an awesome thing and difficult to put into words.

October 15, 2007 9:32 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Daniel,

Btw, I have to tell you - I was reading Bluecollar comments to another post one evening last week and my four-year-old daughter came and sat on my lap. She saw your avatar and said, "Mama, look at his hair!"

I replied something like "yes, isn't that silly" to get her to see the humor in it, but all she could say was, "Make it stop!" (I did by going to some other web page. She loves Google to search for animals - so we did that instead.)

October 15, 2007 9:35 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Another thing that is helpful to understanding the text is that the tradition back in that day was one where the family would spend a year preserving the body for burial after he had already died. Jesus was saying to him in essence, "Lets go, we havent time for this wasteful tradition"

Jesus hated traditions and anything that saps the life out of His work that is alive.

October 15, 2007 9:36 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Donsands,

I agree and really am more and more grieved by the state of the church at large today. It is so "me"-oriented and folks are so accustomed to it that they don't see it. I have had several conversations with people close to me about it and they don't (yet, I pray) see it.

While it saddens me, I press on comforted in knowing that in God's sovereignty and own secret counsel, it is by His own doing and only He will provide revival in His time - if ever. As He wills. And may we all take comfort and be in agreement about His will and timing.

It doesn't always "feel" good though, does it? The closer I get to Truth, however, and the more I remain there, the more awesome it is - as I turn from looking at the way things are and abide by walking in Him.

October 15, 2007 9:42 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Bhedr,

But wasn't Lazarus (Martha and Mary's brother) buried right away?

October 15, 2007 9:43 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jazzy,
You are so right.

Cristina,
Excellent thoughts.

October 15, 2007 9:44 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

The picture I get is that this fellow's father was a Jew who was not a follower of Christ, and that even though he himself wanted to follow Christ, yet in order to honor his father (who apparently rejected Christ) the fellow was asking if he could remain aloof until his father passed away - that is, shouldn't I remain aloof until after I bury my father? Surely I am projecting a something of an alien scenario into the text, so I don't put a lot of store in my own ability to fill in the blanks motive wise, that is, at least with respect to the man's motives, I recognize that I am probably reading more into the text than it warrants, but what I -am- fairly convinced about is that he was putting forward the idea of burying his father idiomatically; meaning: let me put off following you until after my father dies.

I do reject the notion that the fellow is speaking literally - that is, I do not imagine that the funeral is going on right then, and Christ is saying, "you can't go to your father's funeral if you want to follow me" - since attending a funeral would by know means thwart one's ability to follow Christ.

Likewise I don't buy into the idea that he is talking about mourning over his father's grave for some elongated period and confusing the mourning for the burial ritual etc.,

Regardless however of what we take the dead burying the dead to ultimately mean - it was at its root an attempt to find some justified reason to ignore the call to follow Christ, Christ gave no room for justifying such neglect.

October 15, 2007 10:33 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Susan said, "I didn't mean to provide instruction in this post, rather to ask the question how other folks read that. "

I didn't see any instruction in your post - I only saw the question. I hope I didn't make you feel like I was responding to you so much as adding a very broad and general comment to the mix.

To be sure, my first comment was directed at all of us who read this text and see "the dead" as you have described - that is, as being "spiritually dead".

I directed the comment thus that we might have grace for those who do not see in this text what seems obvious to us. My hope was and continues to be that our "grace" that remembers that truth is not something we are convinced of by argument, but rather that we were convinced of by the Holy Spirit illuminating scripture for us.

I suspect that some of our readers will refuse to see what we see in the text. My comment was made to (hopefully) prepare the field for any intramural discussion that may arise.

October 15, 2007 10:40 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Yeah Susan but notice Jesus took time to go to that funeral:-)

I am guessing from the commentary I read on this that some of the surrounding pagan nations may have had these practices. Perhaps there is another expert. Either way..just a thought to spark the discussion. The bottom line is Jesus is indeed calling us to AWAKE!!!

October 15, 2007 11:34 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I didn't think Jesus went to Lazarus' funeral... Just went to call him to rise from the dead - just as He does us. And who can resist?

Btw, I heard a pastor once remark that Jesus specified "Lazarus, come forth," otherwise all the dead in that sepulchur would have risen and come forth as well.

October 15, 2007 2:44 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

I think our Lord is saying one of His hard truths here, no matter how it fits.

I would say the bottom line is that to eneter the kingdom of light out of the kingdom of darkness is going to be quite a fight.
You may have to pluck your eye out. You amy have to sleep under the stars, and even foxes have holes.
You may have to leave your whole family.
You may have to sell all that you have.
You definitely have to deny yourself, and carry a cross.
You have to drink the Lord's blood, and it His flesh.

So we need to let the dead bury the dead.
Put our hand to the plough, and count the cost, because it will cost you everything, yet the benefits are eternal rewards, and greatest reward is God Himself.

October 15, 2007 3:04 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Put our hand to the plough

Amen, donsands. And not look back.

October 15, 2007 5:46 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

True Susan. Good little thinktrap:-)

October 15, 2007 9:47 PM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

This man saw the value of Jesus, but did not place the value high enough. The hierarchy must start with Christ at the top, and no earthly influence can come between the work of the gospel and a true disciple.

Much like the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), where the duty of the priest and the Levite caused them to disregard the greater good, this man sees his cultural duty as an excuse for not following immediately.

The cry today that we serve God best by serving our family can become an evil commitment if we fail to follow Christ - Bob Deffinbaugh.

In the work of the Great Commission we give out the call to follow Jesus as the proximate cause. However, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate cause and power of the call. Just as Christ called this man to minister, today the Spirit calls, and those who will follow therefore must not entangle themselves with the affairs of this world (2 Timothy 2:4).

October 15, 2007 10:37 PM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home