December 4, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”—Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)
When Jesus was 12 years old, He and His family traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Once the festival was over, the family departed—all but one.
We laugh a little when we realize Mary and Joseph “lost” the Son of God. But once they’re reunited, Jesus both says and does something that’s very much in line with today’s Scripture: He tells His parents, “Why were you searching for me? . . . Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Then, Luke writes, “He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them” (Luke 2:49, 52 NIV).
Jesus meant no harm by lingering in Jerusalem. It was an opportunity for Him to sit among great teachers of the day, but perhaps a bigger opportunity to teach them, for they were amazed at His understanding and answers. The text doesn’t reveal their discussion, but knowing Jesus as we do, it’s a safe bet He honored His Father by what He said. Then, back with His parents, He honored them by being obedient to them.
At 30 years old, Jesus and His mother attended a wedding (John 2:1–11). Before the event was over, the wine ran out. Mary implored Jesus to do something, but He refused. However, between verses 4 and 5, something must have taken place because Mary tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do.
Jesus meant no malice by telling His mother no, but some exchange between them triggered Him to act. The wedding in Cana has a rich tapestry to unravel. Yet, at the heart of it, there’s an intimate picture of Jesus honoring His mother’s wishes, while simultaneously following the will of His Father. It was a small, but beautiful moment that sparked the beginning of miracles to come.
At 33, Jesus hung on the cross. He was bloody, shredded, and unrecognizable. His mother stood below Him, surrounded by other women and John, the apostle Jesus loved. With the sins of the world about to press down upon Him and suffering excruciating physical pain, He looked at Mary with compassion and said, “’Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple [John], ‘Behold your mother!’” (John 19:26–27).
Jesus meant no disrespect by asking someone who was not a member of His family to care for Mary after His death. He simply knew she would be in better hands with John. Another small, but beautiful exchange between Jesus and His mother—one that showed great honor and great selflessness at a time of great sorrow and pain.
We can only imagine the relationship Jesus had with His parents. But what’s clear is His relationship with His heavenly Father followed the commandment to honor Him and His parents, and so He did.
Jesus demonstrated deference, respect, and immense care for His parents. He did this all the days of His life. Truly, I can think of no better Man to emulate than Him.
Pause: Whatever your age, what is/was your relationship with your parents? Granted, some families experience great struggle, but what does God’s commandment to honor our parents truly mean? If His ways are higher than ours and His wisdom far surpasses our own, doesn’t it make sense to honor Him by honoring them?
Practice: Whatever your relationship is, whether your parents are alive or have passed, there’s always the opportunity to honor them. Pray how you can do this, and then honor our heavenly Father by doing so.
Pray: Lord, if I have lacked in this commandment or if I am doing well, I simply ask for wisdom on how I can display the same kind of love Jesus had for His parents and for You. Thank You, Father, for this commandment and for all it gives to families. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.