Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them.
Jesus notices. Jesus begins telling a parable about how His Kingdom works when He notices how we, as humans, function at a dinner party. He notices we tend to look for the best seat and the place of honor first. He notices how we choose position and why we choose that position. This is about where we sit at a wedding feast or a dinner party—but it is so much more than that. We can see that by Jesus noticing this tendency in us to promote ourselves, He is highlighting how human relations work when void of His Spirit.
The spirit of this world, the enemy, has invaded our nature. We were designed in the image of a very generous and humble God, and we were called to reflect these beautiful qualities. The enemy came to destroy the image of God. Sin has reversed the order of things. Where we were created to be secure in our Creator and prefer others, we now prefer ourselves because we are no longer secure in who we are in Him. Security comes from Him. People who don’t know who they are have to put themselves into positions that bring a so-called security. So it’s natural for us to go for the best seat, the place of honor.
Our fallen nature craves identity and security. We are constantly searching for who we are, so we attach ourselves to things or people that give us status, power, and security. We have a sense of knowing who we are for a time, but when that ‘seat’ is removed we are left wanting for another place of honor. The problem is, to find that place of honor in this world, we usually have to dishonor someone else to get it. Most seats in this world are taken. So we, as humans, are waiting for seats of identity to open up, or we are protecting at all cost the seat we already possess, or else we are looking for a way to get the seat we want even at the expense of others.
Jesus notices this inclination in us as humans and cares enough to tell a story to set us free. Jesus notices the desire in us for power, but He has a solution. Jesus notices in us the craving for identity, but He knows someone who can give to us. Jesus notices in us the need to have the best seat, and He has an answer.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey