Move on Up a Little Higher

Scripture: Luke 14:1-14

Key Scripture: But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. (v. 10 ESV)

Observation: This week’s lectionary gospel reading comes from Luke 14:1-14 and we hear Jesus give a teaching on humility. It is worth noting that Jesus is invited to the house of a Pharisee for dinner but Luke’s narration lets us know that this invitation did not originate from pure intentions. This would not be a true fellowship dinner. The lawyers and Pharisees were watching Jesus with the intention of finding fault with him. However, Jesus doesn’t call the leader of the Pharisees out on this attempt to entrap and belittle. Instead, Jesus takes this moment to teach the Pharisees and the lawyers the true meaning of honor. Verses 2-6 are not included in the lectionary reading but in my humble opinion should be for it is in these verses that Jesus exemplifies the parable that follows. The true guest of honor is the man healed of his dropsy. In this healing, I hear Jesus saying to the man “Move on Up a Little Higher”. He was not invited to the dinner but becomes the focal point of the conversation that will follow. I hear Jesus saying to this man, now that you have been healed you can come out of the shadows of being labeled unclean and denied a seat at the table. You are now restored to being a valued member of the community. Jesus honors this man by prioritizing his healing over socializing with the host.

Analysis: As we consider what this parable, often referred to as the parable of the wedding feast, has to say to us today, we are reminded that in God’s kingdom there are no throw-away people. We recognize that Jesus has called us to the roles that we have been assigned, but this assignment doesn’t exclude the participation of others. Indeed we may be surprised by the people God honors in our presence. Jesus invites us to be aware of believing we are more important than we are or moving into places of authority that belong to God alone. When we find ourselves attempting to exclude or place limits on others we need to bring this parable to mind. However, the God we serve does not lead with punishment or condemnation and we do this parable a disservice by concentrating on the Pharisees. The God we serve wants to invite us to move on up a little higher! The God we serve greets us with the honor of being healed from our sin sickness and goes further by entrusting us to lead others to this same healing. It is my prayer that all Christ followers will position themselves spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally so that God will say to us move on up a little higher! To God be the glory.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of humility. Our earnest prayer is to exercise this gift to create an inclusive and inviting community. Let our conversations be built on humility so that we truly learn to disagree without being disagreeable. In the name of Jesus. Amen.


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