“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-3)
What’s really striking about this verse is that Paul is not only applying the fifth commandment to Gentile kids living in Ephesus, but he is also applying the promise. But the promise has clearly been expanded. Instead of being limited to the Promised Land, a small chunk of land in Palestine, Paul says the blessing of obeying parents now applies to everyone who believes everywhere, that it may go will with you and you may live long on the earth. The Promised Land in the New Covenant is every nation on earth and Heaven to come because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth: all of the nations are His inheritance, as it says in Psalm 2.
In the first conquest of Palestine, remember the spies went into the land and brought back tokens of the land, large bunches of grapes, pomegranates, and figs. Of course 10 of the spies were faithless and gave a bad report of the land: too many giants and large cities. But Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people to believe the promises of God to go up and take the land.
This bread and wine are tokens of the new Promised Land (like the grapes and figs the spies brought back) because Jesus purchased us and the whole world with His body and blood on the cross. But that means this bread and wine are even better than what old Israel had because this bread and wine are more like receipts of the conquest. This bread and wine are signs and seals of the body and blood of Jesus, the payment that purchased us and this whole world. He was our Joshua, our Caleb, but He didn’t just spy out the land. He actually fought and killed the three great Giants: Sin, Death, and the Devil who enslaved us all.
So consider the land: our city, county, nation, the world. There are still giants and great cities. But the conquest is well under way. Here we are on the other side of the planet from where Jesus died and rose again. And millions are gathered in worship with us this Lord’s day all over the world. There is still much to be done, many giants to be slain, cities to be taken. But do not lose heart. Here are tokens of our coming victory. Jesus honored His Father, and so the Father gave Him the whole world, and by His grace, we are growing to honor our fathers and mothers, so that He will surely give us this land.