5 November 2011Luke 14:1-11
"For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (v. 11)
Luke may have collected together a number of 'feast' narratives
here; but it is not impossible that what is described happened at a
single very interesting meal.
Some Pharisees who had invited Jesus to share a meal so they could watch him closely. Jesus heals a man and sends him on his way so challenging the Pharisees about the value of human life compared to the way they were allowed to care for their animals and children on the Sabbath. Surely they should also allow help and healing to a man. I suppose we would say today that human life has worth. Not surprisingly the Pharisees had no answer.
After watching the guests arrive Jesus tells a parable about the need for humility, using the image of a wedding banquet. At banquets the basic item of furniture was a three-personed couch, a number of which were placed in a U-shape. Guests reclined on their left elbows, with the place of highest honour being at the centre of the base of the U. Guests arrived and there may have been a scramble to sit as near as possible to that centre. But Jesus tells those at the feast that the ones who are genuinely humble will find their true place in life.
This is not the conventional wisdom or the way of the world, which reminds us that this seems to be the way Jesus constantly conducts himself.
Perhaps Jesus is using this situation as an acted parable in the hope that people would be challenged about their attitude and behaviour to others.
If you were at this wedding banquet, where would you have headed? And what do you think Jesus might have been saying to you?
Thank God for the people you have known who have lived with genuine humility and from whom you have learnt so much.
Is there anyone that God is asking you to serve today? Who? And how?