When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” (John 19:26)


John is the only gospel writer to give this account of Jesus’ last ministry to His mother, perhaps because Jesus gave Mary to John. Even during His extreme suffering, Jesus thought of His mother and honored her by giving her into John’s care. In this way, Jesus was fulfilling the second commandment of the Law, which said to honor His parents.

Christians are to honor their parents even after they are adults. However, the command to obey is temporary (Gal. 4:1-2). Honor naturally leads to obedience if nothing is asked contrary to God’s laws, but honor and obedience are not synonymous. The Scriptures teach that when a man marries, he is to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife (Gen. 2:24). This is why parental interference in their son’s or daughter’s marriage is the source of many divorces and much marital strife. Yet, a believer is to honor their parents.

The definition of the word honor means “to esteem, respect,” and the Greek word from which honor is translated means “to prize, i.e., to fix a valuation upon.” When we are young, it is good to esteem and prize the opinions of our parents over our peers. The attitude that parents are out-of-date and out of touch dishonors them and deprives us of their wisdom and comfort. When we are older, we may disagree with our parents, especially if they are unbelievers, but we should never dishonor or show disrespect to them. If they have been abusive or ungodly, honoring them does not mean believing or acting like them. Honor is simply an attitude of respect for the position they hold as those who gave us life.

It says in Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, and Ephesians 6:1-3 that honoring your father and mother is the first commandment with a promise. This command is the first one of the Ten Commandments that gives a promise of blessing to those who obey it. Honor your parents as Jesus honored His, and you will live a long, prosperous life.