By Pastor John Mateos Ong and Pastora Monique Lopez Ong
“When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Have you ever been embarrassed in your life? Sometimes, life allows us to experience things in a not so good way. We find ourselves in situations that make our cheeks blush and make us want to retreat and cower in a corner. Most of the time, they are accidents that we could not avert. But in the parable, the humiliation was something that could have been prevented.
Humility is a very difficult thing to practice. Everybody wants to be first in line for everything, may it be in the queue in the grocery, the line at a buffet, or at a concert. They always want the best. In the parable, Jesus asks us to think about others first and not think of ourselves all the time, to step back and allow others to have centerstage.
-Jesus was in an event.
-Everyone wanted the best seat.
-The man in the parable was not asked to sit at the place of honor but deemed himself worthy of sitting there.
-It was not free seating at the banquet.
-Eventually, the host will come and will ask that the places of honor be vacated for the real VIP’s.
-Jesus said that we should take the least seat so that when the host comes, he will be the one to upgrade you to a place of honor.
Jesus told this parable because he was invited in the home of a prominent pharisee and He saw the people scrambling for the place of honor. Because of this, He told this parable as a warning.
3 Things Jesus was Teaching Through This Parable
1.Humble Yourself - v.10 “When you are invited, take the lowest place.” Obviously, humility is very important. You always want to be nearest the person being celebrated. Matthew 23:12 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those whoo humble themselves will be exalted.” If you are confident in your identity as sons and daughters of the King, you will not mind taking the worst seat here on earth because you know that you have a special VIP seat in heaven. Jesus showed us the best example of humility in that while he is 100% God (Phil. 2:5-8), He never used His “God card” or His entitlement.
2.The Host will Come - v.10 “When your host comes, he will say to you, “friend, move up to a better place.” The host will give you what is due. Being invited does not entitle you to any seat. There is a seat assigned to you.
Who is the host? What is the judgment? Since we are all invited to the banquet, the host may be Jesus and the judgement is about the White Throne judgment. Revelations 22:12 says, “Behold, I am coming quickly and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” This verse is for believers. Unlike in the parable where everyone is trying to take a seat, although no one was kicked out because everyone was dressed properly, they were seated accordingly too. Have you been living this humble life on earth? Matthew 20:6 says, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” When the host comes, this is when people will be placed in their proper seats. The way up to God’s kingdom is to go down in servanthood. When you think that you are more important or better than others, you will be humbled against your own will. But when you humble yourself, God will honor you. If you want to follow Jesus, you have to die to yourself and carry your cross. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, regard others as better than yourself.”
BENEFITS OF BEING HUMBLE:
-He gives favor to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34)
-The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)
-When pride comes, then comes disgrace. But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
3.Stop Running After The Seat - v.8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.”Some make a run for it. They know at the back of their mind that something is not meant for them but they go for it anyway thinking that maybe, if they already have it within their grasp, they can already have it. But when the host comes and sees you in a place that is not rightfully yours, you will be asked to leave and take a seat way at the back. There’s the rub. Many run after the seat and forget the host. Do not forget that the seat itself does not give honor. It is the host that puts the seat in its proper place and that is what makes it honorable.
Sometimes you get fixated about the chair. What does this chair represent? It can be winning a contest to be number one, getting the highest grades in class, receiving that coveted promotion at work, or buying that house to be better than the Joneses. Those number one places do not mean anything if Jesus is not there. It is not the place that has the value but who it is next to. You will realize that your quest to get the number 1 spot is really not the best seat in the house. 1Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” When you pursue the host, every seat you sit on becomes the best seat. And the people around you get to experience the same. The Holy Spirit is not just found in front or in the main arena. He is found exactly where you are. He can minister to you in every seat even if you are at the back. Jesus will lift you up in His time.
Many people become impatient sitting on the bad seats. So they work on their own to lift themselves up and that is where pride comes in. Stay close to God. Even if you are in that bad seat, as long as you are close to God, then that seat becomes more valuable than the best one still. You have everything when you have Jesus. Psalm 14:2 says, “The Lord looks down on heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Stop seeking worldly thing. Seek the One.