HUMBLE yourself for GOD to EXALT you LATER: So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:7-11)
This is a parable that our Lord Jesus expounded after He witnessed first-hand how people lusted after honor and glory for themselves. As Jesus entered the Pharisee’s house, perhaps He saw the guests maneuvering for the best places of eminence and honor around the table near where the host was seated. The idea of lowest and highest seats refers to the universal custom of designating places for honored persons at meals and other functions. However, the guests were positioning themselves in those positions without verifying with the host if they were indeed worthy to be seated in those seats of honor!
During His public ministry, Jesus has stressed on humility since it was pride that first caused man’s downfall in the first place. As the New Adam, Jesus exemplified righteous living through the path of humility. It is worth noting that man fell from God’s favor because he presumed through his pride that the forbidden fruit would make him “like God knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Man’s godliness can now be restored only when he humbles himself before God’s will and purpose. Only those who humbly respond to Jesus’ gracious invitation will be present to enjoy the kingdom of God. God honors those who recognize their own lowliness and unworthiness and who rely solely on His mercy!
If we are truly humble before God, there is only one direction we can possibly move and that is up. Through this parable, Jesus has taught us that it is better to be advanced to a place of honor than to grasp that place and later have to relinquish it. Jesus Himself is the best living example of self-renunciation (Phil. 2:5–11) and real humility (John 13:1-15). Jesus humbled Himself even to the lowly death on the cross, and as a result God highly exalted His name above every other name!
In the kingdom that Christ came to establish, humility triumphs pride every time. The values of the kingdom that Christ came to establish were radically different from those prevalent then and now. Many times we want the best for ourselves like the Pharisees and scribes who clamored for the spotlight and sought the adulation of the crowds. But Jesus wants us to be humble before He exalts us. The radical and upside-down way of God’s kingdom is this: we must be little in our own eyes before we can be large in His eyes!