A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?…
The claim of God upon the confidence and obedience of man is based upon the unalterable fact that man is the son of God. For the answer to this ceaseless appeal to the filial instinct of humanity the world's Father stands waiting with tireless patience and unspeakable compassion at the door of every heart. There is a stage in the spiritual development of most lives when this transcendent truth passes from a dim instruct into a radiant certainty, it is the stage of "knowing the Lord." The instinct of sonship has never been absent from the race. The ancient Aryans spoke of the Eternal as "Dyaus Pitar"; the Greeks as "Zeus Pater"; the Latins as "Jupiter"; the Norsemen as "Thor," each word foreshadowing with stammering lips the Pater-noster — our heaven Father. Christ alone revealed the truth in perfection, and taught it in power. He, the revealer of the Father's moral and affectional nature in the limitations of a human body. This new clement infused into the thought of the world possesses individual hearts but slowly. The mind perceives that as the self-existent primal cause of all has conditioned Himself in natural phenomena that all thinkers might recognise Him as an Intelligence; so Almighty fatherhood has conditioned His moral attributes, His love, tenderness, and sacrifice in the workings of a human mind, and the words of a human voice, and the actions of a human life, in the Incarnation. As he looks on Jesus he sees Him as the great Sacrament of the Fatherhood, the visible embodiment of the all-pervading Father-Spirit. Just here comes in the searching power of the individual application of the appeal of God for the spiritual evolution of man. "If I be a Father, where is Mine honour?" The test of knowing the Lord is hearing the voice: ears that are deafened by the din of second causes hear not the voice. The conscious moral act whereby a son of God accepted the challenge, is deliberate mental disentanglement from second causes, and the recognition of God in every concern of life. The Father's demand, "Where is Mine honour?" is not satisfied without witness, enthusiasm, and loyalty. The duty of witness is clear and inalienable. No son of God can claim exemption. As to enthusiasm; one characteristic of the civilised heathenism of the age is the undisguised contempt ever poured upon enthusiasm. The Archetypal Man was an enthusiast; He loved the people with passion, and He turned the world upside down. And loyalty to the heavenly citizenship, and the guidance of the Eternal Spirit.
(Canon Wilberforce, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
WEB: "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, then where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? Says Yahweh of Armies to you, priests, who despise my name. You say, 'How have we despised your name?'