With the Fourth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother,” we move from what is sometimes called the First Table of the Law to the Second. That is, we move from commandments having to do directly with our Lord, to those that have to do with our neighbor.
Having two tables of the Law already indicates, as mentioned before, that God’s will has to do with loving and honoring our Lord and loving and serving our neighbor. I started this series by stating that knowing God’s will was not such a mysterious, hard to know, matter! Rather, it is doing God’s will that is difficult.
We have also already discussed the priority of the First Table, while at the same time indicating that the First Table leads into the Second. That is to say, we love and honor God also by loving and serving our neighbor.
In the Fourth Commandment loving and serving our neighbor starts with respect and obedience to God-delegated authorities. The highest such authority is that of father and mother. But God’s authority is reflected in many other offices that reflect parental authority. This is why Luther explains the meaning of the Fourth Commandment as, “We are to fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and others in authority, but respect, obey, love, and serve them.”
Rebellion is nothing new, but we live in an especially rebellious age when it comes to authorities. We see this in the disrespect shown elected officials, officers of the law, teachers, administrators, judges, and pastors. The Scriptures are clear, unless the authority commands something contrary to what God has commanded we are to obey. We are always to show respect. We are to pray for those who are over us.
So what is the will of God here? It is to honor and love God by showing respect, obedience, love, and service to our parents and other authorities.
Since You Asked…
What are we observing on “The Sunday of the Passion”?
The Sunday of the Passion mixes triumph and tragedy, the palms and the passion, observing Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem as well as looking ahead to his passion and death on the cross.
As the prelude to the Sunday of the Passion focuses on reading the Passion Narrative, the Procession with Palms provides an appropriate burst of joy which does not lose sight of the solemn goal of Jesus’ triumphal entry. (taken from the Lutheran Planning Calendar, publ. by Augsburg Fortress)