Translations: Chinese GB Big5

The Parable of 
The Lowest Seat

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)


Discussion Questions

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 himself?
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?


Comments

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 5:44
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.

Genuine Humility

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) 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 Lu 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.


Rap

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.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


May 10,2010