A casual reading of the Scriptures might have one easily overlook both the ministry of parents and grandparents. Further that same casual reading might have one not notice what makes these ministries so challenging and vital. It is not until one begins to see how many writers of Scriptures are pointing one to the same phenomenon that what is being said becomes more obvious and transparent.
To understand what this is we must first understand that Jesus himself was starting from scratch with his own disciples. His coming and his kingdom would be contended against all along the way. As a baby his life was threatened and barely saved from the slaughter of the innocent infant boys living in and near Bethlehem. From the time of his own forty days spent in the wilderness followed by the three ways Satan tempted him, Jesus surely saw that his ministry was attacked by evil. He and John the Baptist would be opposed by those who felt threatened by their ministries. Jesus was called Beelzebub. He was plotted against by scribes and Pharisees, arrested by the chief priests and finally crucified. John the Baptist was arrested and killed by King Herod.
Jesus realized the danger believers faced, for he faced those same dangers himself. He did not mince words to his disciples. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). To get a fuller picture of how Jesus saw what his ministers were up against, read all of Matthew 10 and 11. As the prophets of old were murdered so that same violence will occur in his day and down through the ages of the new covenant. (See Matthew 23:29-39 and John 15:18-25.)
So while Jesus was bringing the wonderful news of the Gospel, he was also declaring the sobering reality that those who receive it will find themselves in jeopardy. We only have to move ahead a short time to find both James and Stephen being killed, Paul being persecuted, Peter. Now we might be tempted to think that this peril experienced by the first Christian leaders was short lived or that it was only a reality for the early apostles.
But now we get to the second phase of how the Good News was spread, appropriated and the body of Christ was built up. We now have apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers equipping the saint for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We find this in Ephesians 4:11-13. And what ministries are pointed to? In Ephesians 5 we have the ministries between husband and wife. In Ephesians 6:1-4 we have the ministries between child and parent and then in verses 5-9 between slaves and masters.
If we accept the these ministries are real and ways of passing on and fleshing out the Good News, then we must ask ourselves, “Are these ministries also faced with evil and threatened by menacing attacks? When we ask it that way, we begin to notice Ephesians 4:14 which declares, “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.” So here we have new kinds of invasions of evil affecting those seeking to minister as to their offspring.
It does not end there. Surely there is much in the rest of Ephesians 4 and 5 to consider in this regard. Once we reach Ephesians 6:10-20 we are confronted by the full warfare every minister is battling. There will be the evil day, the sometime subtle and sometimes frontal attacks of the principalities and every Christian will need to put on the full armor of God to survive these attacks. That armor making the Christian strong is all laid out so that the breaking down of the believer’s faith does not occur.
So as Jesus and Paul faced evil and were confronted by wolves, we now begin to see that those who are the family ministers are likewise dealing with evil. What is striking is how those passages which are overtly lifting up the ministries of parents also are exposing the evil threats those ministries live with.
Here are passages to consider in this regard:
Deuteronomy 6:4-19 Parents pass on the faith, warn about becoming worshippers of no-gods (idols).
Psalm 78 Parents and grandparents pass on what God has done, but people resist, disobey and bring on the wrath of God.
Proverbs 1-7 Fathers instructing and giving wisdom to their children, who are enticed by evil doers to become foolish and suffer dire consequences.
Malachi 4:6 where fathers’ hearts are turned to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers so that God will not strike the land with a curse.
Luke 11 Here we find Jesus declaring all the ways evil can be prayed against, how it can infect leaders and how even birth parents are not as important. All followers must listen and keep embracing Christ.
II Timothy 3 not only points out how evil people can become and take advantage of others but also how one might be nurtured in the faith by parents and grandparents with the inspired Scriptures.