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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                  Taking The Lowest Place (Lk 14:7-11)


1. We have seen that Jesus did not limit His use of parables to 
   instructing only His disciples:
   a. He often used them in responding to those who challenged Him...
      1) Cf. "The Two Sons" - Mt 21:28-32
      2) Cf. "The Wicked Vinedressers" - Mt 21:33-46
      3) Cf. "The Wedding Feast" - Mt 22:1-14
   b. He also used them in more casual settings...
      1) As a guest in a Pharisee's home, cf. "The Two Debtors" - Lk 
      2) Replying to a lawyer's question, cf. "The Good Samaritan" - Lk
      3) Responding to a request to settle a family dispute, cf. "The 
         Rich Fool" - Lk 12:13-21
      4) In offering His perspective on a calamity, cf. "The Barren Fig
         Tree" - Lk 13:6-9

2. It was in another casual setting that we find Jesus using a parable
   to teach an important lesson...
   a. The parable is found in Lk 14:7-11
   b. It can be called "Taking The Lowest Place", and it illustrates
      the value of humility

[Let's being with...]


      1. Jesus had gone to eat at the house of one of the rulers of the
         Pharisees on the Sabbath - Lk 14:1a
      2. They had watched Him closely - Lk 14:1b
         a. Perhaps to see if He would heal the man with dropsy? - cf.
            Lk 14:2
         b. Jesus posed a question about the lawfulness of healing on
            the Sabbath - Lk 14:3
            1) To which they did not respond - Lk 14:4
            2) To which they could not respond, after Jesus...
               a) Healed the man - Lk 14:5
               b) Posed another question revealing their inconsistency
                  - Lk 14:6
      3. Jesus had also been watching them closely - Lk 14:7
         a. He had noted how those invited were selecting the best 
            places to sit
            1) It is thought that the seating arrangements at that time
               may have involved three tables in the shape of a 
               flat-bottomed "U"
            2) "The triclinia, or Grecian table, then in use had three
               sections which were placed together so as to form a
               flat-bottomed U. The space enclosed by the table was not
               occupied. It was left vacant that the servants might
               enter it and attend to the wants of the guests who
               reclined around the outer margin of the table."
            3) "The central seat of each of these three sections were
               deemed a place of honor. This struggle for precedence
               was a small ambition, but many of the ambitions of our
               day are equally small." (MCGARVEY)
         b. This petty positioning around the tables prompted Jesus to
            teach a lesson using a parable...

      1. The setting is a wedding feast, a common social event in those
         days - Lk 14:8
      2. Jesus warns against sitting down in the best place - Lk 14:
         a. Someone more honorable may have been invited
         b. When they arrive, the host will ask you to move
         c. With shame you will have to move to the lowest place 
            (likely the only place left!)
      3. Instead, He counsels them to sit in the lowest place - Lk 14:
         a. That way, the host will come along and say "Friend, go up
         b. So instead of shame, brought about trying to sit in the 
            best place, you will receive glory among those who sit at
            the table with you
      4. Jesus then concludes with this maxim:  "For whoever exalts 
         himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be 
         exalted." - Lk 14:11
         a. A "maxim":  a fundamental principle, general truth, or rule
            of conduct
         b. It was one of our Lord's favorite
            1) Used in the parable of "The Pharisee And The Publican" -
               cf. Lk 18:14
            2) Spoken when teaching His disciples not to be like 
               scribes and Pharisees - cf. Mt 23:6-12
         c. It is found in the Old Testament - cf. Ps 18:27; Pr 18:12;
         d. And repeated in the New Testament - cf. Ja 4:6; 1 Pe 5:5
[Remember that this is a parable; Jesus' purpose is not just to have us
focus on the story (in this case, the advice about attending wedding
feasts), but the main principle illustrated by the parable.

With that in mind, here are a few thoughts in regards to...]


      1. The wise man wrote:
         a. "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before
            a fall." - Pr 16:18
         b. "A man's pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit
            will retain honor." - Pr 29:23
      2. The danger of pride is not just in social settings (as per the
         parable), but in our relationship with God!
         a. The Lord hates pride - Pr 8:13
         b. It is defiles man - Mk 7:21-23
         c. It is of the world, not of the Father - 1 Jn 2:15-17

      1. The Lord blesses the humble - Ps 25:9; Pr 3:34
      2. Humility is a mark of wisdom - Pr 11:2
      3. Humility precedes honor like arrogance goes before destruction
         - Pr 18:12; cf. 22:4

      1. Be clothed with humility - Co 3:12
      2. Be humble before God - 1 Pe 5:6
      3. Be humble in our dealings with our brethren in Christ - Ph 2:3
      4. Be humble in our dealings with those around us, even those who
         oppose us - Ti 3:2; 2 Ti 2:24-25


1. Through this simple parable, Jesus has taught us a most important
   truth:  the need to be humble in our relations with God and those 
   around us!

2. Humility is not a popular grace in our culture...
   a. It is considered a sign of weakness by many
   b. People fear that they will be made a floor mat by others

3. But we must remember that God is watching, and it is He who said:

         For thus says the High and Lofty One
         Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
         "I dwell in the high and holy place,
         With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
         To revive the spirit of the humble,
         And to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isa 57:15)

4. If we desire the Lord to dwell with us, then let us walk humbly 
   before Him, as Micah wrote...

         He has shown you, O man, what is good;
         And what does the LORD require of you
         But to do justly, To love mercy,
         And to walk humbly with your God?  (Mic 6:8)

May God give us the grace to so walk before Him!
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