Come Up Higher

Yeshua told us to take the lower seat. Was He simply offering a few tips on proper etiquette, or was He hinting at something deeper?

Red carpets are rolled out for guests of honor. (Image © Bigstock)

Our Master watched the disciples of His host and the other guests jostling for position of honor at the Sabbath table. He advised His fellow diners not to take the place of honor at a banquet lest one more worthy arrive. They might find themselves humiliated as they were demoted to a lower seat. Better to recline at the lowest place of least honor. Let the one who has invited you say to you, “Friend, move up higher!” (Luke 14:10).

Yeshua punctuated the teaching with His maxim: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

The Master’s teaching about taking a lower place at the table sounds like good, pragmatic advice in the realm of table manners, but on closer examination, He hinted toward something more than just good social etiquette. Luke explicitly refers to the teaching as a “parable.” Rabbi Yeshua taught that the position and prestige, which a person accords himself in this life, will have consequences for determining his position and prestige in the afterlife, the Messianic Era, and the world to come. By exalting oneself over others, one can expect to be told, “Go down,” at the table of the righteous in the Messianic Era, but by humbling oneself, one can expect to be told, “Friend, move up higher,” at the Messianic banquet.

The Master’s table teaching that day also contained a cryptic message about His own identity. He apparently derived this teaching from the Proverbs:

Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of great men; for it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen. (Proverbs 25:6-7)

The men jostling for seats of position and status at the table that Sabbath did not know that they reclined “in the presence of the king.” They exalted themselves in the king’s presence. How surprised they will be when they recline at the messianic banquet and discover that their curious dinner guest from that Sabbath now sits at the head of the table as master of ceremony. How embarrassing for those who pressed for a better seat above Him when they recognize the man they disregarded.

Take the lower seat in this world, and come up higher in the presence of King Yeshua.

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