Summary: Honor: comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. Webster’s says it has three parts: reputation, recognition, and privilege. Reputation is the opinion of other people have of you. Recognition is what they s
Honor: comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. Webster’s says it has three parts: reputation, recognition, and privilege. Reputation is the opinion of other people have of you. Recognition is what they say about you because of that opinion, and privilege is what you get to do because they think so highly of you.
Honor itself is not bad-except when it is not deserved, or when the effect of honor is self serving.
Andrew Carnegie once said of honor: "All honor’s wounds are self-inflicted."
In Luke 14 Jesus teaches us about honor’s trap when its focus is ourselves-and that through humbleness we can experience true honor.
Verses 1 - 6 Men are not pawns for men or rules
The Pharisee’s problem was that they wanted two things - position for themselves, and rules to help keep the positions of authority.
So here Jesus is at this dinner party and it’s quite likely that the Pharisees plant a person to try to trip Jesus up again. The Pharisees’ oral tradition forbade healing on the Sabbath because it was doing a doctor’s profession and you weren’t supposed to do any work on the Sabbath.
If the average person was to question whether this was at the heart of the Sabbath-that is rest and healing for man-they would excommunicate you for daring to come against those in authority.
Their tradition said it was only lawful to heal on the Sabbath if it was life threatening. This man had what’s called dropsy. Dropsy may have been edema, where fluids build up in the bodily tissues and cavities, possibly caused by a heart problem. It was serious but not life threatening.
Jesus says: if your son or your ox falls into a pit you wouldn’t hesitate - and that’s not life threatening either. Common sense had been pushed aside for rules. People love rules - it allows you to know whether you are right or wrong, in or out.
Jesus didn’t need rules because He had God’s heart.
We want a list - things I can do and things I can’t. For me, I like what Paul the Apostle said:
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 "All things are lawful ," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful ," but not all things build up.
And then I love how he finishes the thought because it fits right in with our chapter:
24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. ESV
Notice how that idea works into the next section:
Verses 7 - 11 Taking Honor
I love how Jesus uses the situation around Him to teach truth. We can do that too, you know. You don’t have to come up with incredible word pictures of philosophical constructs to share the gospel. If you are out snow skiing you can remark how wonderful it is that God made every snowflake unique, and how He has made each of us unique yet loves us all. If you are at the grocery store you can talk about bargain hunting and coupons and how the greatest bargain you ever found was a free deal on salvation.
Here He talks about the banquet He was at. In Jewish tradition they would sit around a "u" shaped table. The honored positions were at the apex of the "U’ and the lowest positions were at the edges. A person who wants to "take" honor sits as high up as he thinks he can get away with. Jesus says to watch out, lest the host tell you you have reached too high when someone comes who is more honored than you. Then your only choice is to sit at the last space left - the lowest position.
Spiritually this is true for all humans. We like to think we are something special with our knowledge and our technology and science and athletic prowess and philosophies. We seat ourselves pretty high at the table. It’s not until we see how perfect God is and how evil we really are that we realize we have reached up too far.
If we approach God with humbleness instead, realizing that we cannot even enter His presence because He is so perfect and we are so not - then God can reach out to us and say "because of what My Son Jesus has done for you, come up here and sit next to Me and we’ll eat together."
This I think also has a practical application to the Christian. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we are pretty important to the body of Christ-that God just wouldn’t be as successful here on earth if it weren’t for us. What a fallacy! We should take on the attitude of a lowly servant in everything we do, and let God exalt Himself through that work any way He wants.