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Green Leaf

July 1

FOCUS: Prioritizing Jesus may mean sacrifice.

Plant

Reflection

00:00 / 02:27

After healing Peter’s mother-in-law and many others in Capernaum, including those possessed by evil spirits, Jesus attempts to withdraw from the crowds to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

This is not thought to be an evasion on Jesus’ part, but rather a mechanism to allow Jesus to instruct on the cost of true discipleship. The apostles have left behind homes and occupations to follow Jesus. As he attempts to depart, two individuals approach Jesus, separately, purporting to follow him. To the first, a scribe, a man of learning and position, Jesus tells what the life of a follower is like. He also, again, entitles himself ‘Son of man’, from Daniel 7:14, not fully understood at the time, but emphasizing Jesus’ mission as not of one of an earthly Messiah addressing Jewish nationalistic aspirations. After his resurrection, the apostles would recognize ‘Son of man’ actually meant ‘Son of God’.

Jesus would also be approached by a prospective disciple who wishes to follow, but first needs to bury his father, a sacred duty in Judaism. Unlike the call of Elisha by Elijah in the Old Testament, (1 Kgs 19:19-21) Jesus tells him, rather brusquely, to let the ‘dead bury their dead’, inferentially, let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead. This speaks to the radical commitment of the disciple but does not revoke the duty of the living to the dead, rather illustrating the highest demand of Christian life.

The interlocutors in this episode address Jesus respectfully as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, but we do not hear whether either accepts Jesus’ challenge to ‘Follow me…’.

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