October 1st, 2021 – Luke 14:8

Verse of the Day Devotion  Luke 14:8  When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him.

Today we will look at the Parable of the Invited Guest.  Here is this parable as found in Luke’s gospel.

And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, when you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both shall come and say to you, give place to this man, and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11.

Jesus was in the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath and eating with them.  “And it came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely.” Luke 14:1. While there He healed a man suffering from dropsy.  This was a disease produced by the accumulation of water in various parts of the body; very distressing, and commonly incurable. Jesus turns to the Pharisees and asks them if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  But when they did not answer, He healed him and sent him on his way. He then asked them, “Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” Luke 14:5.  Again they did not answer. Then He noticed how people strategically placed themselves so as to be in the best places; that is, the places of most honor.

In Jesus’ day, the seating arrangement at a dinner showed a definite order of prestige or honor. The most honored person sat in a particular seat, the next most honored person in another place, and so on down the line.  This parable presupposes a culture of honor and shame in ancient Jewish and Hellenistic societies and illustrates these cultures by means of seating order at banquets.  Guests here are literally those invited and refers to the Pharisees and experts of the law mentioned above.  He then tells them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both shall come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.” Luke 14:8-9.  To ‘take the place’ literally means ‘do not recline’. To be told to move in this manner would be humiliating, for one, you would be told to move that someone they viewed as more important could sit there, and two, you would need to find a place to recline in the least honorable places. 

Then He adds, “But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, Friend, move up higher; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.” Luke 14:10. In other words, do not put yourself in the pace of honor, but allow the one who invited you move you up to a better place, for then you will be looked at positively as one who is honored, instead of being humiliated.  This is the basic idea as stated in verse 11. “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11.

The general idea is we have to learn not to be high minded or arrogant, but to be content with more lowly things, because pride and ambition are disgraceful before men: forwhosoever exalts himself shall be abased;but humility and self-denial are really honorable: he that humbles himself shall be exalted, We see in other instances that a man’s pride will bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit, and before honor is humility. The Pharisees seek to exalt themselves, and in so doing they cease being models and rulers of God’s people. God’s way is not their way.  We must be careful that we do not place ourselves on a pedestal.  Paul put it this way. “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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