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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Christ's submission: to both Mary and Joseph

Luke 2:48 When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you.”
49 He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 They didn’t understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth. He was subject to them, and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 

John 2:3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”
(World English Bible, public domain)

In these two cases, it seems that Christ, as a boy, and also as a young man, at the beginning of His ministry, was submissive to his parents, or at least to one of them. We don't know why Joseph isn't mentioned in John 2. Perhaps he had died by that time. I should say that I'm not clear about exactly what was going on in the John passage, but my guess is that Mary was gently pushing Jesus to do something about the lack of wine, and expected Him to perform some sort of miracle. (Why? Had she seen Him do other miracles already? Did she just remember the circumstances of His birth, and of His visit to the temple as a boy? We don't know.)

I find it interesting that all the English translations of Luke 2:51 that I could find said that Jesus was subject, or submissive, to them. Not to Joseph (or to Mary) but to them -- both of them. In this sense, then, both Mary and Joseph were the head of the household.

I have previously written about Biblical cases where wives exercised spiritual headship in a household with a believing husband. I have also posted about submission.

Thanks for reading.

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June 25, 2012: As a commenter points out (see below), the Fifth of the Ten Commandments says that children are to honor their father and their mother.


atlibertytosay said...

Jesus, in order to be the Messiah, must perfectly fulfill prophecy AND law.

The 5th Commandment (Honor your Mother & Father) comes right after the "Honor God" commandments.

I've seen it put before that commandments are in order of highest importance (don't read any theology into that statement).

This is one reason Jesus simplified the commandments into "Honor God, Love Others before self."

He did just that, in order of the commandments. Honored God first, Parents second as the commandments said to do, then loved others by fulfilling the rest of the commandments and teaching about HOW to follow them.

Martin LaBar said...


Yes, the Commandment says to honor father and mother. I should have thought of that.

Thanks, atlibertytosay.