Let The Dead Bury Their Dead

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I have my strong, personal opinion regarding this Marcos burial issue at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. But I chose not to comment or post as much online and offline knowing that it won’t please people from either side of the fence. I also have people I love from both sides. This issue is divisive. It could actually divide (if we are not yet divided) our nation, our churches and our families. I am under no illusion that this article could solve the issue. But I would like to call our attention beyond the issue. 

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One time, the Lord Jesus gave a seeming insensitive answer to an apparent reasonable request.
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60, ESV. Emphasis added)
What was that disciple requesting? If his father was already dead, he would have been making the necessary funeral arrangements already. It appears though that his father was not yet dead. 
It is more likely that the man’s father was ready to die. His request was to let him wait just a little while before following Jesus. Perhaps the man also wanted to receive the inheritance from his father’s estate. [1]
The Lord’s answer shocked people: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” He was not commanding the man to dishonor his parents. He was commanding him to set his priorities right.
The point was that proclaiming the kingdom of God was so important that it could not wait. Of course if the man had left and followed Jesus, it would have caused a scandal in the community. But that was less important than proclaiming the kingdom and following the Messiah. A disciple must make a radical commitment. [2]
This burial issue is as complicated as the proverbial Gordian knot. By all means, let us discuss it. However, I appeal to everyone: please avoid caricaturing (read: attacking) anyone whose opinion might be different from yours. Let us keep our arguments reasonable. 

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But, together as a nation we need to make sure that justice is served albeit delayed for a long time. We also need to work together to heal the wounds of the past. 

Yet, more than that, we should “go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” The efforts and the time we spend debating such issues—important as they may be—should be better poured into what’s more important as far as eternity is concerned. If ever we discuss political and social issues with people, let us remember that such discussions are not an end by itself but the means towards spiritual issues. Share the Good News of Salvation. Teach a biblical view of justice, righteousness and forgiveness. Submit to the government, obey the laws of the land and pay the right taxes. Pray for our leaders and our country “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:2b)

Brothers and sisters, let’s heed the Lord’s commandments:
Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
[1] John A. Martin, “Luke” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, Eds. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, 1985), 232. 

[2] Ibid, emphasis added.


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