By   •   October 5, 2004   •   Topics:


What did Jesus mean when He said to let the dead bury the dead? I've heard it quoted many times, but it doesn't make any sense. It must have a hidden meaning, but I've never heard anyone explain it.


One day Jesus invited a man to follow Him and become His disciple—but the man refused. He said he would follow Jesus later, but first he wanted to go bury his father. Jesus responded, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:22).

What did He mean by this? Jesus wasn’t saying that people who were physically dead should bury other dead people; as you say, that wouldn’t make sense. Instead He was speaking of those who were spiritually dead—those who were alive physically but dead toward God in their souls. We may be very strong and healthy physically, and yet be spiritually dead—which is far more serious.

To us Jesus’ words to this man might sound harsh—but that is because we don’t understand what the man was really saying. When someone in Jesus’ day said they wanted to go bury their father, it didn’t necessarily mean he was already dead. Instead they really were saying that they wanted to stay with their father until he died—something that might be years away. This man was simply looking for an excuse to avoid becoming Jesus’ disciple.

What keeps you from following Jesus as you should? Almost anything can come between us and God; the devil will make sure of that. But Jesus’ call has not changed: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

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  1. grace says:

    Thank u for explaining this to me

  2. grace says:

    I like it well said

  3. Paul R Patton says:

    Good understanding lead to stronger faith in Christ

  4. Frank Harding says:

    We only need to review some of our hypocrisies when we bury our dead with pageantry and obscene lavishness, without regard to where our dead may be heading to…Jesus sums it up by saying: Let the dead bury the dead…..We just need to understand what Jesus really meant.

  5. Thomas Fluker says:

    Thats good

  6. Betty says:

    Thank you for clarifying this up.

  7. Lorraine Hardison says:

    Thank you for clarifying Matthew 8:22 for me.

    1. Dikgang masoga says:

      Thnks alot for clarifying mattew 8:21-23

  8. Samuel says:

    Very we’ll explained.thank you.

  9. Tony says:

    Thanks these words confused me a bit.

  10. justin says:

    We are all not perfect and the lord says he will forgive us but then says those that have iniquity he will tell depart from me i do not know u in matt 6 this i need help understanding is he just saying it to those that don’t try to combat their iniquity because by gods standards id say we are consumed by it