LESS IS MORE
Great and Mighty God, it amazies me that no mess is too big for You to fix, no life too shattered for You to restore. I praise You.
Read LUKE 14:1–11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Wherever you sit at the table, God sees you. If you walk with a humble heart he will exalt you.
Twice we are told in this passage that the Pharisees and experts of the Law remained silent before Jesus. In the first instance, he asks if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. In the second he asks what their response would be if their son, donkey or ox fell into a well on the Sabbath. Sandwiched between the two questions, a healing has taken place before their very eyes—yet they remain unmoved. It is this silence that provokes Jesus to make the comments contained in verses 7–11.
He was being carefully watched (1) and it is obvious that his theology and behavior are being scrutinized—but Jesus has been watching them too. He noticed how the guests “picked the places of honor at the table” (7) so as to be seen. This attitude of pushing forward in human society was also reflected in the behavior of the Pharisees in showing people how holy and good they were through their religious practices, thus earning them a better seat before people and a closer place to the Almighty.
Jesus addresses the arrogance of their silence and their ignorance of God and presents them with yet another kingdom paradox. Human kingdoms teach us to exalt ourselves, to push our way to the top of the pile and to fight for our own reputation. The kingdom of God, in contrast, rejects such thinking; in fact the kingdom works in direct opposition to such an attitude. The way of the kingdom is counterintuitive: it teaches that if we surrender our lives before God, he will lift us up—but if we try to make ourselves bigger before God, he will put us in our place.
How is it possible to handle both human ambition and our Lord’s teaching on godly humility?
Lord, only You, by Your grace, can enable me to take the servant’s role.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.