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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1016. The cost of obedience will affect our attitude to family and culture (21/3/24)

This week in our Come to Jesus Daily Devotionals, we continue in the gospel of Luke. In Luke 9:51-62 we see that we are called to model our lives on the costly obedience that Jesus showed to His Father. Today, we see that our obedience will affect our priorities in regard to family, friends and culture. 


‘He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60)

Lesson: Following Jesus must take precedence even over those who are dear to us or customs that are expected of us. 


You can listen to this devotional below (It’s also available on Spotify on the Community Church Putney podcast) 



On initial reading, these words may sound harsh. Surely, to bury a family member is a good thing. In fact, we know that Jesus taught us to honour our father and mother and attacked the religious leaders of His day as they put their religious traditions before doing good to their families. For example, we read:


‘Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honour your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honour their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.’ (Matthew 15:3-6) 

So, whilst seeking to honour our parents, what does this challenging text mean? It seems that this man is using cultural traditions as an excuse not to follow Jesus - whilst not actually saying “no”! Like many of us, he avoids saying ‘no” by using, what seems like, a good excuse. The ESV Study Bible says this about the drawn-out burial process of the time: 

‘Burial at this time in Judaism often involved a year-long period from the time when the body was first buried until a year later when the bones of the deceased were placed in an ossuary box. Though this was a basic family obligation, Jesus is teaching the priority of the kingdom over family.’ (ESV Study Bible) 

Joel Green writes of this practice: 

‘The practice of primary burial (in which the corpse is placed in a sealed tomb) followed by secondary burial (following a twelve-month period of decomposition the bones were collected and reburied in an ossuary or “bone box”) is well attested, with the additional twelve months between burial and reburial providing for the completion of the work of mourning.’ (Green, Joel B.. The Gospel of Luke) 

It seems that burying your father, or any loved one, is not the issue and, of course, needs to be done. However, Jesus is challenging us against obeying any cultural expectations that keep us from whole-heartedly following Him. 


Response

Following Jesus must take precedence even over those who are dear to us or customs that are expected of us. If our family, friends or culture expect things of us that keep us from following Jesus or that dishonour Him, we must desist even if it leads to misunderstanding or rejection. In essence, do we love God first, or do we love others first? 


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News or the Teaching button on the website. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday was entitled, The cost of following Jesus (Luke 9:51-62). In this section, Jesus sets the perfect example of carrying His cross and suffering, and then calling His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him, even when obedience is costly. 


Please read Luke 9:51-62, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • How do verses 51-56 teach about Jesus’ suffering?

  • Read verses 57-61 and discuss: What are the various ways in which following Jesus may be costly? And, secondly, what experiences do you have of carrying your cross for Jesus? 

  • What is the principle and application taught in verse 62?

  • SIV - How might seeking to share our story and the message of Jesus be costly to us?

  • SIV - Why will living a wholehearted life for Christ, as outlined in this text, make us effective as witnesses to the gospel? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.

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