Reflections: Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Fourth Commandment

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 8:13-9:17; Mark 4:1-20


Honor your father and mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. (Small Catechism: Fourth Commandment)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When it comes to the Ten Commandments, there are a few basic questions that we can ask ourselves every time we read them, whether in the Scriptures or in Luther’s Small Catechism. Today’s reading gives us the first basic question that follows each of the Ten Commandments. It’s the quintessential catechism question: What does this mean? Thankfully, the catechism unpacks what it means to honor father and mother. 

That leads us to the next helpful question: What gift is God giving us and protecting for us in this commandment? We might not think of God’s commandments as gifts, but they certainly are. God’s commandments diagnose our sin. They do damage control on a fallen world. And they discipline us, His people, in His ways. And behind all of that, the commandments also reveal God’s divine, Fatherly goodness. 

You see, God’s Law is given because living in His ways and Word is how He gives us what is best for us. So, in the Fourth Commandment, God is giving us the gift of authority and vocation, and the gifts of family, parents, and other authorities. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, now matter who we are, we will always be under some kind of authority. Sadly, we know, sinful, fallen humanity has made a mess of God’s gift of authority in every part of life, in the home, society, government, and even in the church. Why? Because every one of us is a sinner. Every one of us fails to honor father and mother. Every one of us breaks the Fourth Commandment.

This leads to the third, and most important question of all: How has Jesus kept this commandment for me? For every time we’ve broken the Fourth Commandment, Jesus perfectly honored, served, obeyed, loved, and cherished not only Mary and Joseph, but also His heavenly Father. He did this for you. Jesus kept the Fourth Commandment for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.


Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.