Luke 14:7-11 He spoke a parable to those
who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the best seats, and said
to them, "When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, don’t sit
in the best seat, since perhaps someone more honorable than you might be
invited by him, and he who invited both of you would come and tell you,
‘Make room for this person.’ Then you would begin, with shame, to take
the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place,
so that when he who invited you comes, he may tell you, ‘Friend, move up
higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the
table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever
humbles himself will be exalted." (web)
What were the people in the feast seeking?
Was this appropriates according to Prov 25:27?
Is it characteristic of genunine humility to seek one's own honor?
What kind of "humility" is Jesus speaking of?
What do you suppose is Jesus objective in telling this parable?
What is another example from your observation of a person exalting
How do you feel about such people?
What about those who falsely humble themselves?
How do you think the host would feel if he learned that his guest had
falsely humbled himself to gain his own honor?
Humiliating the Proud
Jesus is not describing genuine humility in this passage, rather he is
speaking so as to humiliate the proud. The fact that "everyone who exalts
himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" is
a principle of human relationships. But it is not characteristic of humility
to seek one's own honor, as it it written:
"It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable
to seek one's own honor." Pr 25:27 And "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else,
and not your own lips." Pr 27:2 So "Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim
a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, "Come
up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman." Pr 25:6,7
Yet here it appears that Jesus is prescribing how one should go about seeking
one's own honor. As is the case particularly in oriental societies, seeking
praise from others was a quite common characteristic of the religious leaders
of Israel and the Jews in general, whom Jesus was humiliating in saying
this. Effectively he was saying, "Not only are you seeking praise from
men, but you are doing it in an unwise fashion." False humility is practiced
quite alot in oriental societies, where people pretend to be humble, expecting
to be exalted. It doesn't work to the same degree in Western societies
in which honesty is more highly valued, but the principle is there. But
Jesus has elsewhere spoken to such man-pleasers thusly:
"How can you believe if you accept praise from one another,
yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?"Joh
Trying to please people falsely for one's own selfish ends is not a characteristic
of a servant of Christ, as Paul writes:
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?
Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would
not be a servant of Christ." Ga 1:10
Yet Jesus was speaking to those who were still trying to please men to
gain honor for themselves. Thus he was not really prescribing appropriate
behavior, but rather he was simply humiliating the proud.
On the other hand, when it comes to genuine humility this is initiated
by a change of heart that works itself out to applications. The practice
of Christian humility is summarized in James (notice the verbs)
"Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and
purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn and wail.
Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:7-10
The genuinely humble do not seek their own honor, but rather seek to honor
God. But in the end, God honors them. A true servant does not seek his
own reward, but rather serves because he has accepted the Lordship of Christ.
But in the end, Christ rewards him. This is the dichotomy - similar to
9:24 "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for me will save it." By dying to self, and giving up
what we may have sought in the flesh, we obtain it.
When someone invites you to a wedding feast
Don't take the best seat, but rather the least
For there may be one more honored than you
Then what do you suppose the host will do?
He'll ask you to give your seat to him
Then your prospects will be rather grim
For you'll have to move to the lowest seat
That's what you'll get for your conceit
But rather you should at first take the lowest place
When the host comes he will then save your face
He will move you to a place which is best
And you will be honor before all the guests
Everyone who exalts himself will be abased
But those who humble themselves will be raised.