Leave the dead to bury their own dead (ape tou nekrou qapsai tou eautwn nekrou). This paradox occurs so in Matthew 8:22 . The explanation is that the spiritually dead can bury the literally dead. For such a quick change in the use of the same words see John 5:21-29 (spiritual resurrection from sin in John 5:21-27 , bodily resurrection from the grave, John 5:28John 5:29 ) and John 11:25 . The harshness of this proverb to the scribe probably is due to the fact that he was manifestly using his aged father as an excuse for not giving Christ active service. But go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God (su de apelqwn diaggelle thn basileian tou qeou). The scribe's duty is put sharply (But do qou, su de). Christ called him to preach, and he was using pious phrases about his father as a pretext. Many a preacher has had to face a similar delicate problem of duty to father, mother, brothers, sisters and the call to preach. This was a clear case. Jesus will help any man called to preach to see his duty. Certainly Jesus does not advocate renunciation of family duties on the part of preachers.