A lot of people are dying these days, and there have been quite a handful of deaths of people we’ve known recently. It’s almost as if they’re sensing that times are going to be harder, and they want to be spared from having to go through that. Or even, if they weren’t aware of what’s coming, God in His mercy spared them from the worst…
Having to deal with death brings up certain questions, because it inevitably causes confrontation between the differing attitudes toward death of believers and unbelievers. Those who don’t believe in a life after death or in a just God of love Who simply knows best when it’s time for a person to go, become bitter toward Him (no matter how vehemently they claim not to believe in Him), and they cling to their own (self-)righteousness and oppose those who claim that God is fair and just and knows what He’s doing.
It explains why in the world Jesus could have ever have said something as outrageously politically incorrect as “Let the dead bury their dead, and come thou, follow Me.” He didn’t have anything to do with their rituals and games, nor their temporal little positions of individual power in a temprary little life that culminates in a bunch of people standing and sobbing around a coffin’ singing “It’s all over now.”
He was working for a Cause precisely destined to put an end to that type of game, namely to free people from the fear of death, and to pluck out that sting of death, that seems so threatening, but becomes ridiculous in the Presence of the Son of God Who is the resurrection and the life, and whoever believes in Him will never die.
Now, either Jesus was a lunatic for ever having said such a thing, or it was the truth. And if it was the truth, then why do we mourn? Except, of course, for our own momentary loss of that person’s physical presence. But if we really believe, then why not act on it and show that we can’t be fooled into thinking that this life is all there ever was and will be.
Of course, some Christians don’t make it exactly easy on others to believe in a life after death, either. They preach “eternal insecurity,” where you’re saved only for so long as you remain a sinless saint, which is probably the most perverted variety of the Christian faith the Devil ever concocted. Because if it were possible to either get or remain saved by our own behavior and actions, then Jesus could have saved Himself His trip to Golgatha and just stayed on His throne, applauding all those incredible heroes of goodness.So, if you’re not sure whether your loved one’s in Heaven or Hell, go on and mourn about your own insecurity, or get some security by reading the Bible.
According to Jesus, if you really believe, you can even determine yourself where that person is going, and the best thing you can do for them is pray, not weep.
So, why did Jesus have to say that dreadful thing: "Let the dead bury their dead"?
Because people who believe that this life is all there is, and all they ever work for is their momentary position of power and wealth in this temporary life, are as good as dead, as far as the aspects of Eternity - His aspects - are concerned. If you live for the here and now, and it all just culminates in your burial, buddy, then you've been dead all along, and what it should say on your gravestone is "Died at 30, buried at 70."
Those who follow and trust the living God, however, are living in the land of the living, and are so convinced of the truth in Jesus' words that "Whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die," that death is really only a promotion to second grade that shouldn't be mourned but celebrated, no matter how many hellfire-and-brimstone preachers try to make you believe that "Hell's Best Kept Secret" is that Jesus was only kidding when He said that.