Matthew 8:14-22 True Disciples Are Those Who Follow.
Healings and the casting out of demons continued, beginning with Peter’s mother-in-law (vv. 14-15). As in the case of the Centurion, all that was necessary was for Jesus to speak a word (v. 16). All of these healings fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah saying, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (v. 17; Is. 53:4). These healings were physical and spiritual, as Peter would reiterate in his first letter (2:24). The responses from the people varied. Peter’s mother-in-law, when the fever left her, arose and served her guests (v. 15). On the other hand, as they were about to depart, there was “a certain scribe” who said that he would follow Jesus wherever he went (vv. 18-19). Perhaps Jesus, knowing what is in the hearts of men, explained that unlike foxes and birds he had no place to lay his head (v. 20).
We have no indication whether the scribe chose to follow him or not. “Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead’” (vv. 21-22). Jesus had a specific mission, given to him by the Father, and for that reason he had to keep moving toward his goal. The gospel message was one of life and death. Jesus was saying to the man that those not willing to follow him, whether then or since then, were dead people who in this case were burying a corpse. His mission was to bring life. The man truly had a life and death decision to make, and it is the same one all people face. When he but spoke a word people were healed and the demon possessed were delivered. It is the same way with many who hear the word of the gospel.