This weekend we continue the series called “Living It Up,” which is focusing on what a Spirit-led life looks like. We are reflecting on passages from the Gospel of Luke. So far, we have thought about “Freshening Up,” “Giving It Up,” and not getting “Hung Up.” The next message will be “On Being Puffed Up.”
In the story from Luke 14, Jesus offers tips on good and bad banquet etiquette. It appears that Jesus takes on the role of “Mr. Manners,” kind of a masculine version of Emily Post or Ann Landers. Doesn’t it seem odd that the Son of God is dishing out seating instructions at a dinner party?
And yet, strange as it seems, it is good advice! He helps the guests not only to avoid humiliation but to practice humility. He suggests that they sit at the “lowest” place. “Take a place farthest from the host table—rather than taking the risk of being demoted from the highest place because someone more important shows up.” Essentially, Jesus says: “Don’t honor yourself more than others do.”
But as Jesus often does, he moves the discussion to deeper theological matters. “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Then he does something that would horrify “manners” experts. He hammers and hassles the host! Jesus has the audacity to “bite the hand” of the one who is feeding the folks at the banquet!
My, my, my…you would think Jesus’ mother would have taught him better?!