Pointing Upward: Luke 14:7-24

Focus Passage: Luke 14:7-24 (GW)

Then Jesus noticed how the guests always chose the places of honor. So he used this illustration when he spoke to them: “When someone invites you to a wedding, don’t take the place of honor. Maybe someone more important than you was invited. Then your host would say to you, ‘Give this person your place.’ Embarrassed, you would have to take the place of least honor. 10 So when you’re invited, take the place of least honor. Then, when your host comes, he will tell you, ‘Friend, move to a more honorable place.’ Then all the other guests will see how you are honored. 11 Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.”

12 Then he told the man who had invited him, “When you invite people for lunch or dinner, don’t invite only your friends, family, other relatives, or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they will return the favor. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the handicapped, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed because they don’t have any way to pay you back. You will be paid back when those who have God’s approval come back to life.”

15 One of those eating with him heard this. So he said to Jesus, “The person who will be at the banquet in God’s kingdom is blessed.”

16 Jesus said to him, “A man gave a large banquet and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who were invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready now.’

18 “Everyone asked to be excused. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field, and I need to see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five pairs of oxen, and I’m on my way to see how well they plow. Please excuse me.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I recently got married, and that’s why I can’t come.’

21 “The servant went back to report this to his master. Then the master of the house became angry. He told his servant, ‘Run to every street and alley in the city! Bring back the poor, the handicapped, the blind, and the lame.’

22 “The servant said, ‘Sir, what you’ve ordered has been done. But there is still room for more people.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. 24 I can guarantee that none of those invited earlier will taste any food at my banquet.’”

Read Luke 14:7-24 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

This passage is one of the richest passages in the gospels for learning ideas about who God is and what He is like. Most often, we like to jump into the parable and into the heart of what Jesus is revealing about God.

However, in this post, let’s look at how Jesus sets up this parable. He probably was seated in a large room at one of the places of honor, and there were probably many people who were making a mad dash to sit near Him or at other prominent places.

In setting up this illustration, Jesus directs His first words to the guests of this meal: Don’t seek out the places of honor – because you don’t know if someone more honorable is running late. The worst thing you can face as a guest at a banquet is choosing a seat and then being asked to move down in position. That is public humiliation that you brought on yourself. It would be better to take the worst seat in the room, that way when the host sees you, you will get public recognition and be honored to a better place.

Now I don’t know if I have ever witnessed someone being asked to move where they were seated, but I do know that I have set myself up for this type of humiliation. At a special event I attended while in college, I was not asked to move, but I did inch my way into a more prominent seat that what would not normally have happened. Perhaps it was the host wanting to be nice, or the environment that allowed for an extra seat, but in reality, I know I probably should have been asked to move down in status.

However, the truth Jesus is trying to teach is broader than simply seat position. He is teaching us a truth about life. Choose to be humble and let others do the exalting. There is nothing appealing about someone who thinks they are more special than they really are. Those who have figuratively “big heads” are not people who we like being around.

However, those who choose humility and to lift others up are people who we do like to spend time with. They are people who help others be better and who help you feel happier after having spent a few moments together. These people have an inner spirit that is attractive and positive.

I believe Jesus was this type of person. I don’t remember seeing anything that makes me think that He played the position “God”-card in any situation. Satan tempted Him to do so numerous times, but He never fell for this trap.

Instead, Jesus exalted God the Father and the Holy Spirit whenever He was praised. People praised God when they witnessed Jesus perform miracles. Jesus never let the glory rest on Himself; He always pointed it upward.

And this leads us to our own lives. We too should always choose humility over exaltation and forwarding the glory onward and upward. It is what Jesus did, and He called us to be like Him. We should never seek glory for ourselves, but point others to the One who really deserves the glory.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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