Jesus, the Example of Honoring Our Fathers
Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society (Wikipedia). So, is this Biblical? We certainly don’t see a particular day set aside for honoring fathers, but we do see the Biblical commandment with promise in Exodus 20:12, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Honoring our earthly father is not a day but a way of life.
Jesus is our example of what it means to honor our fathers. He honors His Father (God) throughout the New Testament. He begins the Lord’s prayer, “…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name" (Mt. 6:9). Jesus is invoking upon His Father (and our Heavenly Father) His respect and honor of Him as Most Holy. He says in John 8:49 “…but I honour my Father…” He said in verse 28, “…I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me…” He obeyed His Father in everything. We read in Ephesians 5:1, “Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children.” We imitate God by imitating Jesus and what we read about the Father. Therefore, we are to honor our fathers as Jesus honored His Father. Now, we are not talking about worshipping our earthly fathers but honoring them. Also, notice how the Father God honors His Son, Jesus, in Matthew 3:17, “…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” In Psalms 103:13, “Like as a father pitieth (to have compassion and mercy towards) his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Lk. 6:36).
You may be quick to say, “Well, I am exempt from honoring my father because he was not compassionate towards me. Then, let us forgive him and honor him anyway. Our sowing the Love of Jesus into His life may be the very Power that transforms His life. We are to unconditionally honor him; maybe not submitting to ungodly authority, but a respect towards him because of his God-given role as your father.
You may be a father reading this article today. You have not been compassionate towards your children. It is not too late to start. Ask the Heavenly Father to forgive you where you have failed in this. Ask your children to forgive you. Ask for another chance to minister love towards them. Don’t sit down in the guilt and shame of it all, but arise into newness of life in Jesus’ name (Rom. 6:4). I used to long for my daddy to repent of his sin to my mother, sister, and me, but he never did. I longed to be reconciled to him, but it never happened.
Sometimes, we are quick to be critical of our fathers. “They didn’t do this or do that.” …But, have we paused to give thanks for what they did do. Did they work to provide shelter, food, and clothing? Did they raise us in the love and admonition of the Lord? Did they love our mothers? Did they pray at the dinner table over our food? Did they encourage us in the different strides of life? Did they discipline us in love? Did they embrace us with the love of a father? Were they our Godly example of what being a Christian is all about? Did we see them read the Bible and pray? If your answer is “no” to all of the above, honor your father anyway. Forgive them where they failed you. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” …And remember, there is a Heavenly Father, Who will never disappoint you. “Fear God, and give glory to him…” (Rev. 14:7). Now, may I salute you, fathers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in your highest call, husband and father. Amen!