[Jesus said] “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. . . . But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ . . . For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
“Where am I supposed to sit?” you wonder as you enter the reception hall. You scan all the tables and notice that one table at the front of the hall is specially decorated and elevated on a riser. “That must be where the bride and groom want me to sit,” you think. “After all, I’m one of their best friends. I deserve to be seated as close to them as possible.”
It’s hard to imagine that any of us would be so presumptuous as to do something like that at a friend’s wedding reception. Yet, as Jesus observed, such behavior is certainly not unthinkable for us sinful human beings. Each of us naturally has a very high opinion of ourselves. We believe that we deserve to be honored by others. And if they don’t give us the honor we think we deserve, we’ll do what we can to build ourselves up so they can’t help but notice how great we are.
Such self-exalting behavior, however, is not what Jesus wants to see in us. It certainly is not how he acted. Although, as the Son of God, he deserved to be honored more than anyone else, he did not insist on always receiving that honor. Instead, he willingly humbled himself and for a while hid his greatness so he could save us. It was through humbling himself, even to the point of suffering and dying on the cross for us, that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God.
If you want to be honored in Jesus’ kingdom, don’t seek to build yourself up. Instead, through faith in Jesus, humble yourself. And trust that Jesus, who humbled himself for you, will exalt you just as he has promised.
Lord Jesus, lead me through faith in you to humble myself to your glory. Amen.