Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
2) Matthew 15 - verses 3 and following
Matthew 15:3 and following
Honor thy father and thy mother, according to Jesus, is a command with life-long obligations. No amount of physical
maturity can ever release the children from due respect for their parents, because honor has no terminal limits. In
fact, honor means, among other things, to maintain them with daily sustenance. 1st Timothy 5:3-17, Ephesians
6:1-3. Jesus honored His earthly parents and cared for His mother as best He could. Luke 2:51, John 19:26 and
following. This was the typical rabbinical method of answering, by which He mentioned the precept and the penalty
for its transgression.
The sin of cursing parents is here opposed to the duty of honoring them. God had placed reverence for parents on
the same level with Israel's national and personal holiness and in context with the sanctity of the Sabbath and with
the proper worship of God. Leviticus 19:3 and following. It is because the majesty of God violated in this disrespect
for the persons of the parents that the sin of cursing them is made punishable with death. All of God's
representatives are to be served with honor and fear, because in this commandment lies the foundation for order in
the whole social realm.
This relationship is so fundamental, because it gives moral character and stability to a nation, and prosperity and
well-being to its people. Thus, the failure adequately to value this parent-child relationship, especially through the
grown son's refusal to support his aging parents, is direct evidence of a fundamental moral decline in appreciation
for the majesty and authority of God.
Why Jesus should select this particular illustration to deal with the rabbis' attack is not always been understood.
This example did not touch the question of uncleanness, but it proved that tradition was an unauthoritative guide.
The fatal flaw in the Corban-doctrine. The precepts governing oaths presume that a person is actually free to give
to the Lord what he voluntarily promises (Deuteronomy 23:23). But, if God has already obligated a man to use his
possessions differently that he might have vowed, then is he no longer free to vow them to the Lord.
Is it true that the man who pronounced the magic word, Corban not only avoided thereby his obligation to support
his parents, but could at the same time continue to enjoy the comforts and use of his own possessions although
vowed to the service of God?
So, human need, according to Jesus, takes precedence over any rites and ceremonies, especially those of
admittedly human origin. For God is not so much interested in precise and punctual performance of ceremonies as
He is in relieving human suffering and making men over in His image.
By their attitude they were expecting that men consider them as holy as they ought to be before God, but they were
not. In their self-deception they had arrived at the point where they actually considered themselves to be what they
only pretended to be.