SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO AND BURY MY FATHER
By John C. Carpenter
Luke, the beloved physician (Col 4:14), wrote to Theophilus,
his fellow disciple, And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Christ] should be received up [into Heaven], he stedfastly
set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans,
to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples
James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias
did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy
men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. And 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. And 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. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first
to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another
also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him,
No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 51-62). In these verses, Luke, possibly
the only Gentile writer of the New Testament, teaches us in his letter two important points: the calling and purpose of Christ, and
the cost to the individual who is called by Christ to be a follower of Christ.
THE SON OF MAN IS NOT COME TO DESTROY MEN’S LIVES
Scriptures tell us plainly the purpose of Christ’s coming to earth. Christ had determined to go to Jerusalem, and, before his arrival,
sent messengers into a village of the Samaritans (Luke 9:51-52). Because the villagers knew of His intending to go to Jerusalem, the
villagers did not receive and accept Christ (Luke 9:53). This rejection of Christ made His disciples, James and John, angry, and they
wanted and asked the Lord to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them (Luke 10:54). His disciples’ reaction angered
the Lord, who rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy [bring
death] men’s lives, but to save [deliver, heal, preserve, make whole] them (Luke 9:55-56). The Lord made it perfectly clear to His
disciples that His sole purpose and mission in coming to earth was not to bring death, but to deliver from death, and that He would
not veer from that purpose.
I WILL FOLLOW THEE, BUT
Immediately following His interaction with His disciples, the scriptures
instruct us that three men approached the Lord, all three making similar statements. Scriptures instruct us regarding the first man,And 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.
And 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 (Luke
9:57-58). The first man offered to follow the Lord wherever He went, but the Lord responded that animals in nature have a home, but
that He did not have anywhere to go. The Lord was making it clear that He had no home, no place to lay his head, no place that offered
the comforts of home; and implied that the man should understand that following Christ meant that he would be experiencing the same
life, one of inconveniences and discomforts, and no place to “lay his head.“
Holy Scriptures then instruct us, And he [Christ]said unto another [the second man], Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer [allow, permit] me first to go and bury my father. Jesus
said unto him, Let the [spiritually] dead bury their [physically] dead: but go thou [first, and most importantly] and preach the kingdom
of God (Luke 9:59-60). In verse 59, the English word “first” is the Greek word “proton,” which means “first in time, place, order,
or importance.“ The man was in essence telling the Lord, “I will do as you ask, I will follow you, but burying my father is more important
to me than immediately following you and preaching the gospel.” One important lesson here is that when Christ calls, one must place
Christ, His words, and His will, first. They must be more important than anything else in life, including ones’ own family members,
and even ones‘ own life. For many of us, this is difficult to do, but this is what Christ requires of those who follow Him.
Holy Scriptures instruct us, And another [third man] also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first [“proton; i.e., first in
time, place, order, or importance] go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put
his hand to the plow [and looking forward to a task which lays ahead], and looking back [at something which is considered to be more
important than the task at hand], is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:61-62). Again, the Lord is making it clear that when He calls,
the called must look forward to and consider most important what Christ has for them, and, without looking back or having regret,
leave the past behind.
WHOEVER HE BE OF YOU THAT FORSAKETH NOT ALL
Luke added later in his letter, And there went great
multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not [consider less important than Christ]his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And
whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth
not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and
is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what
king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet
him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth
conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh [Apotassomai; i.e., literally to depart from or dismiss, bid
farewell, forsake, send away] not all [pas; i.e., all manner of, always, everyone, thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever] that
he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:25-33). In response to the call of His heavenly Father, Jesus Christ had one purpose in
life: to save lives. When Christ calls an individual to follow Him, Christ expects us, as well, to also have one purpose in life:
to save lives. We save lives by submitting to Christ, and obediently following and fulfilling His will and calling on our lives. He
expects us to place Him, His will, and His calling as first and most important in our lives. Nothing should come before that. Certainly,
our calling make take many forms of ministry, as Christ directs; but He expects us to fulfill whatever He asks him to do. Christ wants
and expects us us not to look back, not to consider or long for the old life, but to look forward to serving Him, and be willing,
if necessary, to give up parents, brothers and sisters, wives, children, friends, education, and even jobs and careers. As many missionaries
have experienced, Christ may even expect us to give up our own physical lives. Instructions to perform and complete ones’ calling
and ministry is consistent throughout the Scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote believers in Ephesus, I therefore, the prisoner of the
Lord, beseech you that ye walk [live, be occupied with] worthy of the vocation [invitation, calling] wherewith ye are called (Eph
4:1), and wrote those in Corinth, Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called (1 Cor 7:20). Paul also instructed
the Colossian believers to tell Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it (Col
4:17). Christ expects His followers to place His calling first above everything else, without excuse, as Christ did; and to understand,
from the beginning, that our calling will cost us everything. The Lord plainly said, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that
he hath, he cannot be my disciple. AMEN.
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
"For God sent
not his Son into
the world to
world; but that
might be saved"
GOD WILL HELP THE BELIEVER PERSEVERE:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless
in the day of our
Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were
called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1:8-9).
unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present
you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom
he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them
he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us,
who can be against us? (Rom 8:30-31).
Wherefore take unto
you the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having
your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel
of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take
helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the
Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all
saints (Eph 6:13-18).
That your faith should not stand
in the wisdom of men, but in the
power of God (1 Coors 2:5).
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth
the end shall be saved (Mat 10:22).
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command
you this day, that ye may be strong,
and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; And that ye may prolong your days in
the land, which the LORD sware unto
your fathers to give unto them
and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey (Deu 11:8-9).
Have not I commanded thee?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your
God will come with vengeance, even God with
a recompence; he will
come and save you (Isa 35:4).
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong (1 Cor 16:13).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
might (Eph 6:10).
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall
sustain thee: he shall
never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring
them down into the pit of destruction: bloody
and deceitful men
shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee (Psa 55:22-23).
Yea, forty years didst thou sustain
them in the wilderness, so
that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet
swelled not (Neh 9:21).
But the LORD
your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of
the hand of all your enemies (2 Kings 17:39).
Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob,
and all the remnant of the
house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your
old age I am he; and even to hoar
hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and
will deliver you (Isa
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought
the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The
sting of death
is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ. Therefore, my
beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding
in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that
your labour is not
in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15:54-58).
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember
works that he hath done, his wonders, and the
judgments of his mouth (1Chron 16:11-12).
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my
deliverer; my God,
my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my
salvation, and my high tower (Psa 18:2).
will give strength unto his people; the LORD will
bless his people with peace (Psa 29:11).
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew
their strength; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint (Isa