Safely Separated           

A Devotional Snapshot


by God's Little Boy
© 2017
Posted 4/28/17



Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”


Jesus told the reluctant follower, "let the dead bury their own dead." This can be better understood to mean, "let the spiritually dead bury their physically dead." The request, "let me first go and bury my father" did not mean that his father had died and needed burial; he was not asking to be excused for a few days to attend to a funeral. The request was that he might remain with his aged father until he died. Jesus knew that there were other family members who could care for the needs of his father and handle the arrangements of burial in the event of his actual death. He also knew that these family members were among the many who were spiritually dead and had no ear or inclination for the call of God. Perhaps this man alone was called from his family to follow Christ as a disciple. He was called away from ungodly family ties just as Abraham had been the only one called from his family to leave the land of Ur and follow the Lord in an adventure of faith.

“Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

As important as family is, family must never prevent you from doing the will of God and it should never keep you from becoming a follower of Christ. Many are called away from family and friends who do not have a true living faith in Jesus. These are "the dead" spoken of here. They are unsaved with no interest in the things of God– outwardly "religious" perhaps, but not born-again. They have never answered the call to salvation and their life reveals it. Christ (the real Christ) is not truly welcome in their home or in their conversation, and any legitimate mention of him or of Bible truth makes them uneasy. They will not come, they will not obey, they will only be what they are. But those who are the called are different; they have been called and separated from the world and placed into the kingdom of God. And so there is a great difference between the kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God; and it is often in families where this divide is most strongly felt.

Do not let any natural connection to your family prevent you from responding to God and becoming a follower and learner of Jesus. The greatest relationship that you can attain is that of you and your God and if any other relationship threatens that it must be given lesser priority. Some are worried about what their family and friends will think or say of them if they choose to follow Jesus with their whole heart. And some do not want to follow Christ, but would prefer to remain among their secular family surroundings. Family unity, because it is seen as a good thing, can be used as an excuse to hide from God and a life in Christ. To this Jesus says, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” For whom do you have more respect, God or man? A true disciple follows Christ and lives in some capacity as a witness for Christ. When he hears the call to follow he will love Jesus and prefer his company and that of the saints to the company of even his own flesh and blood if they should refuse to follow with him. Though none go with you, still you must follow.

Jesus Christ, as the personification of wisdom, cries out in Proverbs 8:36b saying, "all they that hate me love death." The dead remain with the dead because they prefer death, and it is only fitting that they should bury their own. The dead are going nowhere with God and they would love for you to go with them. They will not understand or approve of anyone who is obedient to God, especially those of their own household. In all probability, they will keep you back and resist your spiritual progress– if not in word then through their influences. If you are called of God and born from above then you are called to be separate from them in terms of your thinking and priorities– just as you are called to be separate from the world. There was a time when Jesus' family did not believe him. When Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were asking for him he replied, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”  And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

It should be understood that there is a difference between separation and isolation. We are not called to be isolated from the world. God would have you love your family, honor them, and not be isolated from them (for you may be the clearest representation of Jesus that they will ever see). But you must realize that, for your own spiritual safety, you are called to maintain a certain degree of "separation" from the world and even family, if they should demonstrate an allegiance to the kingdom of this world. Jesus loved the unsaved and he spent time with the unsaved to minister to them and win them to himself. He did this that they might repent and follow him, but "after hours" he did not fellowship with the unsaved as he did with his disciples who were granted the knowledge of his ways and made to be part of the heavenly family. Jesus had a ministry to the world, but he had no fellowship with the world. In John 17:9 Jesus prayed for his own and not for the world. God has set a great difference between these two families. It is not fitting that believers should remain and abide with the ungodly, but that the ungodly should repent and come into the family of faith and into the land of the living. It is not us who should return to them, but it is they who should follow with us; and if they will not we must leave them with their choice. Light and darkness have no fellowship and there exists no genuine harmony between these two kingdoms. Heaven and Hell have no covenant with one another.

We who believe have been born into a new family that shall live and reign together forever, in the world that is to come. A complete stranger who has obtained "like precious faith" is more closely related to us than any unsaved family member. The bond of spirit replaces the bond of flesh; and truth has preeminence over blood. But unfortunately for all too many blood remains thicker than the water of truth.

The words of Jesus:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." (Matthew 10:34-40)






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