He who exalts himself

In Luke 14:7-11, the Savior is reproving those who aspired to sit at the most honored seats at the table and gives a lesson on humility.  Notice how the Lord’s eyes are on even the most common things in life, such as deciding who sits where. 

In those days, seating was ordered by honor.  And it was common for the host to rearrange his guests accordingly.  So, Jesus gives an illustration of a wedding feast at which those who vie for a seat of honor are sometimes pushed out by someone more distinguished, in front of everyone.  And they might end up at the lowest seat.  On the other hand, those who choose the lowest seat often gain respect and are encouraged to take a higher seat.  And the Savior’s point is 

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.  –Luke 14:11

This is one of the repeated sayings of the Savior.  The general order of life that God has created is that those who seek exaltation are usually brought low, and those who humble themselves are usually lifted up.  Consider the contrast, for example, between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel or Pharaoh and Joseph or Saul and David.  

Honor is meaningful even in the Christian life.  We are called to honor kings, elders, our parents, brothers and sisters in Christ, and preeminently, God.  We are commanded to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  But if you try to grasp honor and exaltation, you will be humbled.  Honor is given to us by God, and He gives it to the humble.  

This is ultimately true on the day of judgment.  Only those who have, by His grace, humbled themselves by acknowledging their desperate need for the Savior will be saved and exalted.  

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