Commands of Christ

Honor Your Parents

Where is this command found?

“For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”

Matthew 15:4

Applying This Command

When Jesus reaffirmed the command to honor father and mother, He also restated the consequence of violating this command. The law Jesus referred to required swift and severe punishment for anyone who struck or cursed his father or his mother. The law reads,“He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death,” and “he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:15, 17).

The importance of honoring our fathers and mothers is illustrated by the priority God gave to it when He presented the Law to His people. “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them,Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father” (Leviticus 19:2–3).

The ultimate example of a son honoring his father and his mother is provided by the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout His youth, He totally obeyed His parents, and during His ministry He did nothing of His Own will, but only what His Heavenly Father instructed Him to do. Then, at the end of His life, he prepared for the ongoing assistance of His mother when she became aged and would need this help.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 15:4, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Honor Your Parents.

Colossians 3:20

“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:1–3

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Proverbs 6:20–22

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.”

I Peter 5:5

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 10:1

“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

Exodus 21:15, 17

“He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. … He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”

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Study Question

Q: When Asa became the King of Judah, he removed his grandmother from being the queen and tore down her idol and burned it. Why was this dishonoring act pleasing to God? (See I Kings 15:9–13.)

A: This case illustrates the distinction between honoring and obeying. The command is to honor father and mother, but that does not mean that we are to obey them when they tell us to do something that is contrary to the higher Law of God.

Asa removed his grandmother, Maachah, from being queen because her leadership was in opposition to the Word of God and was a carryover from the reign of his evil father, Abijam, who ruled Judah for three years and did evil in the Lord’s sight. (See I Kings 15:1–3.)

In fact, King Asa was following this command in a larger sphere—he was honoring his forefather David and walking in his ways. God emphasizes this fact in the account of Asa. “And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father” (I Kings 15:11).

Solomon faced a similar situation when his mother became involved in his older brother’s scheme to seize the kingdom from him. His older brother claimed that the kingdom was his and that all Israel wanted him to reign. He asked Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to make a request of Solomon that would have further established his claim to be king.

Solomon rejected his mother’s request and brought judgment to his older brother for plotting against him. This action honored his father David, who had sworn by the Lord to make his son Solomon king after him. (See I Kings 1–2.)

There is a strong, natural tendency to excuse family members for doing things that displease the Lord and thereby to honor them above the Lord. This is what Eli did with his wicked sons, and God judged both him and his sons with death. God asked Eli, “[Why] honorest [thou] thy sons above me … ? … For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (I Samuel 2:29–30).

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Honor Your Parents in the book Commands of Christ: Series 4.

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