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Verses 7-11

A parable teaching humility:

v. 7. And He put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when He marked how they chose out the chief rooms, saying unto them,

v. 8. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him,

v. 9. and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.

v. 10. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room, that, when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher; then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

v. 11. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The eyes of Jesus were always observing the manner in which people behaved under various conditions of life, for He drew lessons from everything. At the ordinary feasts of the Jews there was a good deal of informality, but at the wedding-suppers the question of rank was very important. Jesus had noticed upon this occasion that the guests all made an attempt to take the sofas of honor, the first pillows, at the head of the table. And so He teaches them a lesson concerning the higher sphere of morality and religion. At a wedding-feast the guests should not strive for the most honored seats, for it might easily happen that one to whom greater respect is due on account of his rank or station is among those invited. And what a humiliation it would be then if the host would openly request the forward guest to give up his place to the guest of honor, while the other shamefacedly and with ill grace would have to move to the last place! The Lord therefore advises the opposite method, to choose the lowest place, for then it might well happen that the humble guest would be invited in the presence of the assembled guests to move farther to the head of the table, thus receiving honor before all that reclined with him at the tables. It was not a mere question of prudence and good form which Jesus here broached, but it was a rebuke of the presumption and pride of the guests. Incidentally, it illustrates a rule which finds its application in the kingdom of God: Every one that exalts himself will be humbled, and He that humbles himself will be exalted. He that exalts himself, places himself above his neighbor, boasts of his own merit and worthiness before God, he will be humbled, will be excluded from the kingdom of God. But he that humbles himself before God, and consequently places himself also below his neighbor as a willing servant to minister unto his needs as occasion offers, he will be exalted, he will receive honor in the kingdom of God. For such humility expresses the true disposition of a disciple, it is an evidence of a repentance which is conscious of its own unworthiness, and of faith, which glories only in the cross of Jesus and finds comfort only in His mercy.

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