I am so glad to be looking at these hard sayings, together, for they are, indeed challenging. I have misinterpreted this one in the past, so it is good to find out what it really means if we can!
There was a time when I thought it meant that we should let secular people do secular work and that as believers, we should do the Kingdom work. I remember challenging my son John when he wanted to become an engineer who designed “the hardest bridges in the world,” I asked:
“How is that going to advance the Kingdom?”
He said, “I don’t know, Mom, but I know God made me awfully good at it.”
Likewise, I had a conversation with my favorite professor at Covenant Seminary that clarified this for me. Jerram Barrs told me: “There is not a separation between secular and sacred work, for all honest and pure work can be done to the glory of God. He pictured a farmer lifting his grain up before God, both in thanksgiving and as an offering to a hungry world.”
So, what does Jesus mean? Are we not to give our parents a proper burial? No — that’s wrong too, for Scripture doesn’t contradict Scripture, and we are to honor our parents.
Let’s look at this together! The sermon is free, but because it isn’t in podcast form, you still have to go through the website to get it.
God Hunt Sunday:
- How have you experienced the presence or power of God in that last week?
- What have you thought, if anything, that the phrase “let the dead bury their dead” meant in the past?
Monday: The Context
3. Read Luke 9:51-56
A. In verse 51, what days were nearing, and what does this mean?
B. What phrase is repeated in verses 51 and 53? What does this mean?
C. How did the Samaritans treat Jesus and what did James and John want to do?
D. What does Jesus do, and why do you think?
E. Why do you think rejection doesn’t deter Jesus from going to Jerusalem?
F. Does rejection deter you from sharing Christ or any other thing we are called to do?
4. Darrell Bock writes: In his rebuke, Jesus is not rebuking the disciples’ message, but their timing and spirit.” What do you think Bock means? (Also — some translations, such as New King James Version, add what Jesus said in his rebuke — though that may not have been in the original translations. Check it out! Thoughts?)
Tuesday: The Passage
5. Read Luke 9:57- 62
A. What does the first man say and how does Jesus respond? (57-58) In light of the context, what do you think Jesus is telling him?
B. What does the second man say and how does Jesus respond? (59-60)
C. What does the third man say and how does Jesus respond? (61-62)
D. What common thread is seen first in the three men and then in the three responses from Jesus?
6. Listen to Keller’s introductory remarks until he gets into the first man.
A. How does Jesus act differently than most “recruiters?”
B. Many think of Christianity as moral improvement — what is Jesus talking about?
C. What else stood out to you?
Wednesday: First Man
7. Keller said this man was an idealist — why, do you think?
8. When you were presented with the gospel, were you also told that this life could be hard? Do you do that when you present the gospel?
9. How has it been harder or easier than you expected?
Thursday: Second Man
10. Whom do you see taking the initiation with the 2nd man? Thoughts?
11. What insight does Keller give on “let me go bury my father?”
12. This is where we get the hard saying “let the dead bury their dead.” What do you think, in light of all you’ve learned so far, that it means?
13. I had an “if only” when my sister shared Christ with me when I asked her if I’d have to give up building a house on the ocean. She responded with Matthew 16:25, which I believe is similar to these responses of Christ, and I’m grateful she did. Thoughts or application?
Friday: Third Man
14. Keller says both the 2nd and 3rd men are hesitant because they don’t understand what?
15. What point was Keller making with Augustine’s quote?
16. Keller compared “Let the dead bury the dead” to “if anything is more important than God, it will kill you.” What is he saying?
17. What is the point of the plow metaphor?
18. What two options did Keller end with?
Saturday: So What?
19. How is God asking you to apply this? Take time.