This response by Jesus seems harsh to us. However, if we were a 1st century Jew, we would have understood what Jesus was saying to this disciple. The disciple could have meant either that he wanted to stay home with his Father until he passed away which would have been an indefinite time or he could have meant that he wanted to be sure that his Father’s bones were transferred to an ossuary which was a common custom after the body had decomposed. But touching dead bones would have made him unclean, this was a job that he paid others to do and it would also have meant that his Father had been dead for a year or more. Either way, the disciple is saying “No” to Jesus. How many different ways do we say “No” to Jesus when He says to us “Follow Me”?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous