I wonder if we can see Jesus pleading with the guests of this Pharisee to hear His Kingdom message in this scene. Oh, don’t look for melodrama, for tears and dramatics as you might find in a bad movie, Jesus was much more matter of fact than that. As the scene opens we quickly see that Jesus has been set up: There in the room is a man who was seriously ill and the Pharisees and teachers of the law who were present were watching carefully to see if Jesus would take the bait. Jesus asked them for their legal opinion about healing on the Sabbath, but it seem that they were uncharacteristically silent,
Jesus made sure they saw Him heal the man.
Jesus sent the man on his way and then asked them another question: I f they had a child or an ox that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t they rescue them? Again, those men who talk so often and so loudly were silent as the grave.
The party moves to the dining room, and each carefully picks a seat at the table. Jesus notices how they carefully choose their seats according to their rank or honor by protocol for such occasions, and sees an opportunity. He gives some interesting advice in a little parable:
He tells them that they shouldn’t choose a seat of honor, for if they do, their host may have to ask them to move to another seat. By that time, only the “lowest” seat will be available, and they will look foolish in front of everyone. Instead, they should choose the least seat and their host will move them to a better one, and they will be exalted in front of their friends; good social advice, but apparently they all had just gone through this little ritual. Then came the punch line:
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (14:11)
Ah yes, I suspect that these men who seldom missed the chance to lord their positions over others caught His drift. For us, He has explained what He means by having said to the disciples that the first will be last and the last will be first in the Kingdom.
With a full head of steam now, Jesus has some more social advice: When giving a luncheon or a dinner party, don’t invite your friends and family, for if you do, they will return the invitation and invite you to their homes as a sort of “payback”. You will then be “even”. Instead, invite the poor, who are in no position to return the favor, and you will find yourself repaid at the resurrection; you will be first in the Kingdom. At this point in the proceedings, it would appear that someone found his voice:
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” (14:15)
Was Jesus beginning to reach them?
Maybe. We’ll see what happens next as the scene wraps up in the next passage.