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  • Sitting Shiva

    You know the story about the man who said he would follow Christ, but he had to bury his father first? Something dawned on me. There is no way the man's father was even dead when he said that to Christ. Perhaps his father was elderly, perhaps his father was ill, but he wasn't dead. He wasn't the only son either, or he'd not have been worried about his inheritance... which means there was someone else to look after him. So, if his father was dead, and not yet buried, he'd have been sitting shiva for him, surely, according to the laws of Moses?

    The story takes on a new complexion, when you look at it from this point of view. Someone comes up to Jesus and says, "look, I'll follow you when my life is sorted out, when I've secured my inheritance and sorted out my business... I'll be your disciple when it is a suitable time for me."

    All of a sudden the reply "let the dead bury their dead" doesn't seem so harsh, does it? This is a man who's burying himself in busyness and the day to day "stuff." He's already dead, surely.

    There is one other occasion in the New Testament when a family are sitting Shiva. Mary and Martha are on the fourth day after Lazarus' death when Jesus arrives. Here's the great thing, overlooked a lot I think. You know we talk about a "Mary Spirit" or a "Martha Spirit", as though Mary was the spiritual one, but Martha was less spiritually attuned? It's Martha who runs out to meet Jesus, and who confesses her faith in Him. Even though she was ritually unclean, still in her mourning, she knew absolutely that she could go to Jesus, in all of her uncleaness, and He would weep with her... and He did far more than that.

    What do you think?
    Please could everyone pray for Mieke and Charles.

    My testimony http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthr...ight=testimony

  • #2
    One small example of how the church being torn away from its Hebrew roots because of a prejudice against anything "Jewish" prevents deeper understanding or fuller understanding of the Word of God and keeps things safely on the surface

    ananias
    "But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers.

    And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.

    Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ."
    (Mat.23: 8-10)

    AND

    "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.

    By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another."
    (Joh.13: 34-35)

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    • #3
      I recently heard this teaching. I never understood that passage growing up. I'd say, "So, I guess his father just died?" because I had the preconceived notion he wanted to follow him soon.

      When I look at it from the view you brought up it brings the whole verse in line with the rest of the Bible. This passage presents such a clear picture of what Jesus expects of us, IMO.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by daughter View Post
        What do you think?

        What does "sitting Shiva" mean?

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        • #5
          what great insight. I really appreciate you showing that to us. I never really understand that before.
          Mommy to Brooke, Braden and Bristol

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HisLeast View Post

            What does "sitting Shiva" mean?

            It is the traditional period of mourning a death.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by daughter View Post
              You know the story about the man who said he would follow Christ, but he had to bury his father first? Something dawned on me. There is no way the man's father was even dead when he said that to Christ. Perhaps his father was elderly, perhaps his father was ill, but he wasn't dead. He wasn't the only son either, or he'd not have been worried about his inheritance... which means there was someone else to look after him. So, if his father was dead, and not yet buried, he'd have been sitting shiva for him, surely, according to the laws of Moses?

              The story takes on a new complexion, when you look at it from this point of view. Someone comes up to Jesus and says, "look, I'll follow you when my life is sorted out, when I've secured my inheritance and sorted out my business... I'll be your disciple when it is a suitable time for me."
              I heard a study on this not too long ago, and I think you're absolutely right.

              That also causes a re-evaluation of what "let the dead bury the dead" means as well. It's not referring to the actual burying of his father, it is saying "let those concerned with this physical life worry about themselves". If you are to put on Christ and follow him, your goal is the spiritual and not the material.

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              • #8
                I am not sure why you would think the man was worried about his inheritance or why you would think his father was not dead.
                I don't see anything about inheritance in those verses.
                Jewish people bury their dead within the first 24 hours of their death.
                If the man's father had recently died, this man could have gone out to tell other relatives or to get materials for a coffin or something couldn't he have?
                Sitting shiva is after the burial and this man said his father had not yet been burried.

                The first one that spoke to Jesus was the scribe in verse 19, an educated man, who offered to follow the Lord and the Lord's reply indicated that His kingdom was spiritual and not material.
                The Lord's reply to the 2nd man - was positive. He said "follow Me". He did not tell the scribe to follow Him. Let the dead bury their dead refered to the spiritually dead burrying the physically dead. Perhaps it was a burden for the man to bury his father and Jesus was telling him he did not have to.

                I don't really know, but I don't see anything about inheritance in the verses at all nor anything to indicate that the father was not really dead.
                ...be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-19

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                • #9
                  Yes, they do bury their dead within 24 hours. There is also a mourning period of seven days (shiva) in the house, mourning the dead.

                  If the father was already dead and buried, the young man wouldn't be talking about the funeral being a future event. So, the father wasn't buried. He wasn't dead either, because if he were recently dead (less than 24 hours) his son wouldn't have been out running after a rabbi. Unless he wanted to ask Jesus to resurrect his father.

                  So the man was neither dead nor buried. He was merely old.
                  Please could everyone pray for Mieke and Charles.

                  My testimony http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthr...ight=testimony

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by daughter View Post
                    You know the story about the man who said he would follow Christ, but he had to bury his father first? Something dawned on me. There is no way the man's father was even dead when he said that to Christ. Perhaps his father was elderly, perhaps his father was ill, but he wasn't dead. He wasn't the only son either, or he'd not have been worried about his inheritance... which means there was someone else to look after him. So, if his father was dead, and not yet buried, he'd have been sitting shiva for him, surely, according to the laws of Moses?

                    The story takes on a new complexion, when you look at it from this point of view. Someone comes up to Jesus and says, "look, I'll follow you when my life is sorted out, when I've secured my inheritance and sorted out my business... I'll be your disciple when it is a suitable time for me."

                    All of a sudden the reply "let the dead bury their dead" doesn't seem so harsh, does it? This is a man who's burying himself in busyness and the day to day "stuff." He's already dead, surely.
                    Thank you for your insight into this Scripture. It does open up new understanding and meaning.
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                    Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace;
                    And your best days are never so good that you're beyond the need of God's grace.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by daughter View Post
                      You know the story about the man who said he would follow Christ, but he had to bury his father first? Something dawned on me. There is no way the man's father was even dead when he said that to Christ. Perhaps his father was elderly, perhaps his father was ill, but he wasn't dead. He wasn't the only son either, or he'd not have been worried about his inheritance... which means there was someone else to look after him. So, if his father was dead, and not yet buried, he'd have been sitting shiva for him, surely, according to the laws of Moses?

                      The story takes on a new complexion, when you look at it from this point of view. Someone comes up to Jesus and says, "look, I'll follow you when my life is sorted out, when I've secured my inheritance and sorted out my business... I'll be your disciple when it is a suitable time for me."

                      All of a sudden the reply "let the dead bury their dead" doesn't seem so harsh, does it? This is a man who's burying himself in busyness and the day to day "stuff." He's already dead, surely.

                      There is one other occasion in the New Testament when a family are sitting Shiva. Mary and Martha are on the fourth day after Lazarus' death when Jesus arrives. Here's the great thing, overlooked a lot I think. You know we talk about a "Mary Spirit" or a "Martha Spirit", as though Mary was the spiritual one, but Martha was less spiritually attuned? It's Martha who runs out to meet Jesus, and who confesses her faith in Him. Even though she was ritually unclean, still in her mourning, she knew absolutely that she could go to Jesus, in all of her uncleaness, and He would weep with her... and He did far more than that.

                      What do you think?
                      Excellent observations. Thanks for posting!

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                      • #12
                        I've never heard that before myself. Thanks!
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                        • #13
                          I agree that the spiritual message is one of spiritual priority. However, I am not sure that the father was not already dead. This is one explanation I have heard -- that the father had passed. During the 1st century, the body was placed in a tomb and allowed to decompose. After about a year, the bones were then put into a small stone box called a "sarcophagus". I think it is likely that the burial in this passage is referring to the transfer of his father's bones to the sarcophagus. If this is the case, it would seem that the "burial" was more of an excuse as it could wait and it would not have been so imperative that it take place immediately.

                          Blessings,
                          BHS

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by daughter View Post
                            You know the story about the man who said he would follow Christ, but he had to bury his father first? Something dawned on me. There is no way the man's father was even dead when he said that to Christ. Perhaps his father was elderly, perhaps his father was ill, but he wasn't dead. He wasn't the only son either, or he'd not have been worried about his inheritance... which means there was someone else to look after him. So, if his father was dead, and not yet buried, he'd have been sitting shiva for him, surely, according to the laws of Moses?

                            The story takes on a new complexion, when you look at it from this point of view. Someone comes up to Jesus and says, "look, I'll follow you when my life is sorted out, when I've secured my inheritance and sorted out my business... I'll be your disciple when it is a suitable time for me."

                            All of a sudden the reply "let the dead bury their dead" doesn't seem so harsh, does it? This is a man who's burying himself in busyness and the day to day "stuff." He's already dead, surely.
                            Yes, I agree, Mary. If the man's objection is to be taken literally, even with BHS's view, it just has so little practical application to us and Jesus' response does seem a bit harsh. Because of the emphasis in Luke on prioritising spiritual over material wealth, I think your interpretation makes much more sense and is to be preferred. I did hear that preached on over 20 years ago but had forgotten it - thanks for reminding me.

                            There is one other occasion in the New Testament when a family are sitting Shiva. Mary and Martha are on the fourth day after Lazarus' death when Jesus arrives. Here's the great thing, overlooked a lot I think. You know we talk about a "Mary Spirit" or a "Martha Spirit", as though Mary was the spiritual one, but Martha was less spiritually attuned?
                            At the time when Jesus came for dinner, I think that was the state of things - but Martha grew as a result of Jesus' gentle rebuke.....

                            It's Martha who runs out to meet Jesus, and who confesses her faith in Him. Even though she was ritually unclean, still in her mourning, she knew absolutely that she could go to Jesus, in all of her uncleaness, and He would weep with her... and He did far more than that.
                            I'd never realised that she would have been ritually unclean - thanks for that insight - religion should never keep us from Jesus!

                            What do you think?
                            Excellent points!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
                              I'd never realised that she would have been ritually unclean - thanks for that insight - religion should never keep us from Jesus!

                              Not only this, but her actions would have made Messiah Y'shua unclean as well.

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