Today’s Reading: Luke 13:22-14:6 (additional reading: Psalm 79:1-13 & Proverbs 12:26)
If you understand the New Testament, you realize Jesus grew up in Galilee, which was considered the country. The followers of Jesus were labelled, “unlearned and ignorant men.” The sophisticated city folks in Jerusalem looked down on Jesus and were constantly looking for an opportunity to embarrass Him. In our passage today, He is only a few weeks away from the cross and we see the opposition against Him growing stronger.
Once again, notice the brilliant way Jesus taught. He told a simple little parable of people sitting down at a wedding feast, and then He applied the spiritual principle. Look again at the spiritual principle in verse 11: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” This is one of the wonderful paradoxes of Jesus that is totally contrary to the way the world thinks. The world says if you want to climb higher and be somebody you must push, fight, claw, and work your way to the top of the heap. The world says the way up is up! But Jesus says just the opposite. He says the way up is down. In other words, if you try to promote your prideful self, you’ll end up humbled. And He also says the way down is up. The Bible says specifically in James 4:10 “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.” So, contrary to what the world is teaching you, the way up is down and they way down is up.
Pride is basically the attitude that says, “‘I’ am the centre of my universe.” As Jesus watched these Pharisees, He noticed they all jockeyed for position to sit in the best seats at the dinner. Someone once said pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick except the one who has it. In the Catholic list of the seven deadly sins, pride used to be called vanity. The Dutch painter, Bosch, painted a picture of each of the seven sins and for pride and vanity, he painted the picture of a woman looking at her face in a mirror held by the devil. We can see pride and vanity in others, but we are usually blind to it in our own lives.
Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Jesus was saying the best way to guarantee you’ll fall is to let pride take over your life.