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.Matthew 8:21-22
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.Luke 9:59-60
The second disciple in this scene was actually called upon by Jesus to follow Him (see Luke 9). From the context, we can see that this was not just a call to follow as a disciple but as a minister of the gospel.
Upon hearing Jesus’ call, the man comes to Him with a simple, and seemingly reasonable, request. He wants to go bury his father before he begins his ministry. According to the Jews, this was an honorable act toward one’s parents.
However, Jesus has little to no regard to man’s traditions. Further, Jesus knows something about the man’s father (and possible friends and family). They are still dead in trespasses and sins. They have no desire to follow Jesus. Further, there seems to be plenty of people available to take care of a burial. If the man were to go back to them, even for just a short time, they may draw him away from his discipleship and call to the ministry.
This is an extreme case, no doubt! But it shows us that there is literally no excuse for anything or anyone to come before our service to Jesus Christ.
When we put Christ first in our lives, we are not showing any disrespect to friends or family. For, Christ MUST come first.
As C.H. Spurgeon once said, “Whoever may came next, Christ must be first!”