As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ we are in no way under the Old Covenant Law, nor are we without law but under the law of Christ. The Law of Christ is the law of love, the example of Christ, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of Christ’s apostles, and all of Scripture in light of Christ. Even though new covenant believers are not under old covenant law, all of Scripture is applicable because we can receive principles from the old covenant law.1 Such is the case with the old covenant law to honor your father and your mother. (cf.Ex.20:12) We can see this in the example of Christ with regard to His mother, the teaching of Christ about treatment of mother and father, the teaching of the apostle Paul, (cf.Eph.6:2) and in all of Scripture because it is a good principle that is applicable in the lives of new covenant believers.
This morning I would like to talk about the example of Christ with regard to His mother during his crucifixion. (cf.Jn.19:25-27) In this passage Jesus commends the care of His mother to John. This has nothing to do with exalting her to a place of honor to be worshiped but in seeing to her needs after His departure.
Dying fathers could exhort sons to take care of surviving mothers (which they normally would do); for a disciple to be accorded a role in his teacher’s family was a great honor to the disciple (disciples sometimes called their teachers “father”). A primary responsibility which Jewish custom included in “honoring one’s father and mother" was providing for them (cf.1Sm.22:3) in their old age.2
I shall not get distracted with the honor that Jesus bestowed upon the disciple by including Him as a member of His family but would like to focus on the principle of taking care of one’s mother. When my father died he left my mother financially supported; therefore, I need not financially support my mother but there are many other aspects of her care that I have personally been neglective. I do not visit my mother enough, nor do I call her enough. Though my mother does not need financial support, I am obligated under the law of Christ to care for her in other ways. Remember the law of Christ is the law of love, the example of Christ, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of Christ’s apostles and all of Scripture in light of Christ. As new covenant believers, we are not under the old covenant law with its promised blessings for keeping the law or its curses if we do not, but the principle of honoring our mothers and fathers is applicable in the new covenant church just as it was when Christ commended the care of His mother to the disciple whom Jesus loved.
A. Blake White, The Law of Christ: A Theological Proposal(Frederick: New Covenant Media, 2010), 141.
Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, ed. 2nd(Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 306.