1. Jesus teaches a great lesson on humility. Jesus saw how the Pharisees were craving to get the seat of honour in the banquet. Today we usually place the names of the most honoured guests at the plates. However, in Jesus day the highest seat of honour was on the right of the host and the next highest on his left, and so the ranking continued alternating back and forth until the lowest ranked person sat the farthest away from the host.
2. The ambitious person should not sit in a seat that is higher that his position or capability lest a man more honourable enters and replace him. If the ambitious man takes a higher seat, four things are likely to happen.
• He will be displaced.
• He will then find all the other seats taken.
• He will have to take a lower seat.
• He will be embarrassed.
3. Humility (tareinophrosune) means lowliness of mind. It is a word that was coined by Christianity. Before Christ, a humble man was looked upon as a coward: a cringing, unappealing, effeminate type of person. However after Christ, humility was elevated to the most praise-worthy level. When people looked at Christ, they saw the strength of humility through the influence of one who was perfect in meekness and lowliness of heart.
4. The person who exalts himself does at least four things.
• He debases others. He has to treat other as less and lower than himself in order to exalt himself.
• He acts self-sufficient.
• He corrupts morality and justice.
• He lives a life of struggle.
5. We can retain humility by realizing the facts. However much we know, we still know very little compared with the sum total of knowledge. Only when we come across someone who has reached certain degree of perfection in field, we understand our smallness. Many musicians have decided never to appear in public again after hearing a truly great performance.
We see people who try to climb up the ladder to occupy important posts and positions by all means. They are ready to make any compromise to become prominent. It is not the seat/chair that makes a person prominent but the exemplary life that he/she lives makes the seat/chair prominent.
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible