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Places of Honor August 12, 2012

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus was invited to a Pharisee’s house for a banquet once. He was invited to be watched mostly. Whether He brought His disciples or not at this point is insignificant. What is significant is the opportunity that presented itself for a parable.

A parable, in its simplest form, is an everyday explanation with a deeper meaning. Teachers call it a teachable moment. For Jesus, parables often explained a spiritual truth in common terms. Very often, an event was unfolding in front of the hearers as Jesus explained the deep truth and similarities to which they were witnessing.

“The kingdom of heaven is like…      a mustard seed…”

Right there, near the hearers was a mustard tree and they would draw their conclusions.

Here, Jesus has been invited to a banquet. As guests arrived He watched some jockey for the seats nearest the host, the places of honor. From these proceedings He made His observations.

He compared the present proceedings to a wedding banquet, a much more formal affair than the current occasion. At a wedding banquet, seats were often assigned, much the same way we do today, with place settings listing the guest’s seat.  The head table is reserved for the wedding party and prominent guests. Wedding planners and coordinators spend a great deal of effort assigning the right guests in the right places. In the weddings banquets of the day, guests would be seated in order of importance to the host.

Guests at the current banquet perhaps arrived early in order to seat themselves in the places of honor. The problem is however, if someone of more importance arrived fashionably late, people in the places of honor would get shuffled about. If a less important guest was seated in a prominent place, they could get moved. With seating already taken, the moved guest could be seated far away from where they started. This would cause great shame.

Instead, what Jesus instructed was not to assume you have a place of honor, but let the host move you up to that place. What Jesus was really saying was, have a proper assessment of yourself. Do not consider yourself more highly than you ought.

Jesus next moved on in His instruction to the host.

Hosts invited some guests expecting to be invited by them later in return. They invited their friends, brothers, relatives and rich neighbors. In an honor-shame culture such as this one, one would be expected to be invited to another’s banquet especially if you had invited them. Furthermore, their banquet would attempt to out-class yours. So, in essence, the first host was paid back and more so later by inviting these others first.

Jesus instructed differently.

Instead, what a true host should do is invite losers and outcast. Everyone listed; the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, would have been incapable of reciprocating the invitation. But, in inviting the likes of these, the host would not be paid back in this life, but in the next.

We call this ministry.

Ministry is messy, expensive and humbling…

Because, the truth of it is simply this, we were all losers and outcasts at one point. We have just forgotten what it was like.

We have all been invited to the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb, but only by the Host’s great benevolence. None of us deserve to be there, so none of us should seek the places of honor. Instead, we should have a proper assessment of ourselves and realize that are merely losers and outcasts invited in.

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Comments»

1. Brandon - August 13, 2012

i am totally lost by what this is suppose to mean. so please enlighten me a little more elementary style please sir

theronwatson - August 13, 2012

Guests should not seek places of honor for themselves. They should remain humble with a proper assessment of themselves.
Hosts should not only invite those who can pay them back, but also the social outcasts and the unclean.
We have all been invited to the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb, so choose to attend by accepting Jesus.


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