The Perfect Son
Children can often teach us much. A little boy heard a drunk man cussing at his wife. The boy said, “Is that the way you pray, Mr. Raney?” When Mom was trying to teach us boys to brush our teeth, she would tell us, “Boys, your teeth look like pumpkins.” Kyle once told a man in Kroger, “Mister, your teeth look like pumpkins.”
Jesus taught us to learn from children. “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Many use this text to speak of the sinlessness of children. Although children are sinless, that isn’t the point of this text – this text is saying that we need to become humble like little children. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14).
This morning, we want to learn from the perfect child, Jesus. Specifically, we want to learn how we should respond to our parents. Not all of these lessons are learned from Jesus’ early life – some of them are learned from his later life – this shows us how we should respond to our parents when we are grown.
Jesus Honored God Before He Honored His Parents
Jesus stayed in Jerusalem alter the Feast of the Passover after his parents left, Luke 2:41-50.
As devout Jews did, Jesus and his parents went up to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When they were returning home, Jesus’ parents started back to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary could not find Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem to find him.
Jesus’ parents found him sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. It was the custom for students to sit on the floor at the feet of their teachers, who sat on raised benches in a semicircle – Jesus was sitting with the teachers. This shows that he was considered on equal footing with these older, learned men.
When Mary saw Jesus, she scolded him, saying, “Why have You done this to us?” Jesus said, “Did you not know that l must be about My Father’s business?” “Must be” means “It is necessary.” Jesus often used this word for his own appointed work – Jesus is saying that being about his Father’s business was his duty, his appointed work. Jesus is telling his parents that the most important thing is for him to honor his heavenly Father.
Jesus’ family thought he was crazy for teaching the things he did. Mark 3:21. This did not stop Jesus – He continue to do what he knew was right.
Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:50).
Jesus put God in front of his parents – and he taught us to do the same. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26). Jesus used the word “hate,” not “dislike.” What Jesus means is that we should love him so much more than we love our parents that it seems as though we hate them. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
We must honor God more than we honor our parents. Parents may discourage us from doing what is right, but we must resist that pressure and do what God wants. Parents may not understand our faith, but we must do what is right.
The paradox of the matter is that it is only as we determine to honor God more than our parents that we are really able to honor our parents.
Are you honoring God more than you honor your parents?
Jesus Obeyed His Parents, Luke 2:51
After Jesus’ parents found him in Jerusalem, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them” (Lk. 2:51).
Scripture teaches children to obey their parents. “My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother” (Prov. 6:20). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Col. 3:20).
Children need to obey their parents; obeying our parents is in our best interest. Obeying our parents teaches us to obey God. Our parents know what’s in our best interests, and loving parents will seek to do what’s for our best. Obeying our parents prepares us for the work force where we must obey our employer. Obeying our parents shows them the respect they deserve.
Children, are you obeying your parents?
Jesus Respected His Mother, John 2:1-12
Jesus, his mother, and his disciples attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. When the host ran out of wine, Mary told Jesus, “They have no wine.” In those days, weddings lasted for several days. It was a huge blunder to run out of wine – Mary is concerned about the social standing of her friends.
Jesus basically tells Mary, “It’s not time for me to begin performing miracles.” The term “woman” here is not cold and derogatory like it sounds. It is a term of great respect, akin to our word lady, and is a term of distinction and honor. Mary told the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Jesus, then, proceeds to perform a miracle and turn water into wine. I firmly believe the reason that Jesus performed this miracle was because his mother wanted him to – he wanted to honor her.
We need to honor our parents. “Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness” (Prov. 20:20). “The eye that mocks his father, And scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it” (Prov. 30:17). “‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise” (Eph. 6:2). “Honor” literally means value. Here, it means to value, respect one’s parents.
All of us – regardless of our age – need to respect our parents. We dare not speak against them or speak crassly to them. We could do little things for them to brighten their day and encourage them. We could call them up just to say, “l love you.”
Jesus Made Provisions for His Mother, John 19:25-27
As Jesus was being crucified, his mother stood by his cross. No doubt Mary’s heart was breaking as Jesus was suffering so intensely for the sins of the world. Jesus looked at Mary and said, “Behold your son!” He looked at John and said, “Behold your mother!” Jesus wanted to make sure that his mother was provided for after he ascended back to the Father.
If scholars are correct, Jesus had long cared for his mother. Since the last mention of Joseph is in Luke 2, most scholars believe that he died while Jesus was a teen (most believe that Joseph was much older than Mary and that this may have even been his second marriage – but that is pure conjecture). Scholars believe that after Joseph’s death, Jesus, being the firstborn, took over Joseph’s carpentry business and provided for the family. Scholars believe this is why Jesus did not begin his public ministry until he was around 30. Although this is conjecture, it is certainly in keeping with the character of Jesus.
We need to make provisions for our parents today. “Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old” (Prov. 23:22). Matthew 15:4-6. The scribes and Pharisees said that if one gave a sum of money to God, one did not need to care for his parents – Jesus says that’s a tradition of men. Jesus implies here that one should care for his parents when they become older. In dealing with widows in the church who might need some assistance, Paul says that the church should honor those who are really widows. “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents” (1 Tim. 5:4).
There are so many ways we can repay our parents when they become older and need our help. We can go to the grocery store for them. We can take them to the doctor. If they are not able to stay by themselves but do not need constant medical attention, we can allow them to move in with us. We can help them pay for prescription drugs.
Are you making provisions for your parents?
Jesus was the perfect son.
We can model our lives after his life and become a much better son or daughter. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6). Are you walking the way Jesus walked?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.