Jesus Christ and the Fifth Commandment

5th CommandmentHonour 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

This is the fifth commandment… and it also contains a promise. For this post I am only looking at the commandment, because the purpose of this series is to look at Christ and His obedience to the Ten Commandments.

There is no record of Christ ‘dishonouring’  His step-father, Joseph. Some have wondered about the way He spoke to His mother at the start of His ministry. (I cover this in Grow in Grace, book 2 in the Apostle John series, currently in revision and due for publication later this year.)


“Why did Jesus say ‘dear woman’ when he replied to his mother?” asked Giannis.

“It was Jesus’ normal, polite way of addressing women.”

“But she was his mother’” blurted out Lukas

“Our Saviour was beginning His ministry.’ John stated.  “The way He addressed her signalled a change in their relationship. He was no longer only her son, but the Messiah, the Son of Man. Besides, she did not take it as a rebuke. This was a time when what was prophesied over Him would start to unfold.”

 (Information source- Exegetical Commentary:

From this source, it seems that the possibility of Christ not honouring his mother can be cleared up.

However, Jesus had another Father… the One who sent Him to earth. What was Jesus attitude to Him?

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4: 34

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things which please Him” John 8: 29

feet walking in sand

Throughout the gospels you will find similar statements Jesus makes about His obedience to the Father.

Does this commandment apply to children whose parents mistreat them?

Yes it does. It is one of the ‘Ten’, not one of the ceremonial laws. But there is an admonition to parents too.

“And you fathers (parents), do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6: 4

Sadly, many parents have not been ‘brought up in the admonition of the Lord’.

Still, the commandment stands…

I found this on a site dealing with ‘honouring parents’ who are abusive.

There is no guilt in keeping one’s distance from abusive parents, as long as the separation is not motivated by vengeance. You can honor your parents from afar. Sadly, some parents do not value their children enough to maintain a relationship. The void left by a broken relationship should be filled by Christ rather than pining for a parental relationship that will never be.

Read more:

There is another excellent (but long) article here…

A closing comment on the subject from John Ritenbaugh in a Bibletools comment on Exodus 20: 12

Why does God want a person to honor his parents and other authority figures? First, the family is the basic building block of society. The stability of the family is essential to the stability of the community. The more respectful each family member is of other family members, especially of parents, the greater the degree of respect that will carry beyond the immediate family and into strengthening the community.

Much has been written, and much expected of the child, of any age, honouring the parent.


Our Saviour obeyed it, and if it is difficult for any of us, we need to pray, ask for help, guidance and direction. Sometimes that means talking to a trusted person outside the family, a minister or Christian counsellor. There is no use taking a Biblical question to an unbeliever.

On the surface, this seems such a simple command. In this post, I have lifted the stone and glanced at what sometimes lies beneath.

If you need help, please seek it.

Next time, we look at the sixth commandment,

Till then… tread softly, you may be treading on someone’s dream.



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