Jesus confronts the religious leaders of His day for ignoring what God says in order to promote their own traditions.
Corban vs. Commandments
He uses the practice of Corban to prove His point. God places a high value on honoring ones parents; He even instituted the death penalty for children who cursed their parents. Jesus makes clear that this honor is due our parents until their death and means that we should care for them in their old age. Corban was the practice of dedicating all of your wealth to God with one little catch. You weren’t giving it to God while you were alive; you were willing it to the temple upon your death. This enabled people to feel holy while not really making any sacrifices during their lifetime. Because of Corban, the temple leaders allowed people to refuse to take care of their elderly parents because their wealth really belonged to the temple.
True meaning of the fifth commandment
Nestled into this passage is the true meaning of “honor your father and mother.” Obedience is due our parents while we are unmarried and under their authority. This obedience is temporary; we leave our parents and create a new family when we are married. However, the command to honor our parents is never lifted. We must still honor our parents even if we are no longer under their authority. Part of this honor is taking care of them in their old age. We must instill this in our children and take care of our own aging parents.
Caring for elderly parents can cause marital conflict, but it doesn’t have to. God can use this to bring you closer to your spouse. The key is understanding what God requires of you and preparing yourself for that season of life. It will be difficult, but when your parents pass you will have no regrets.
Tradition vs. God’s Word
The main point of the passage is where we find our standing before God, in God’s Word or in our traditions. We must shun man made traditions and find our hope in what God’s Word actually teaches. We must find our spiritual security in Jesus’ death and resurrection, not our obedience to tradition.
Will you honor your father and mother? Will you look to Jesus and not tradition?