In this passage, we see a cultural issue that we don’t really see so often in Western culture, if at all. Jesus noticed at the meal he was at, that people were jockeying for the best seat. Generally, the person sitting to the right of the host was the most important, while the person to the left was the second most. And the further away you were from the host, the less important you were.
So Jesus told them, “Don’t fight for the best seat. If you do, the host may ask you to go down to a lower seat, and you’ll be humiliated. Instead take the least important seat. Then if the host deems you worthy of a higher position, you will be exalted in front of everyone.”
Like I said, we don’t really face that situation nowadays. But so often, in the church, people look for the “higher positions.” It may be as a teacher, or worship leader, or other high-profile position.
But don’t be so wrapped up in trying to attain these positions. Be humble enough to serve in lower positions. It may be setting up the room for worship service. It may be greeting people at the door. Be faithful in those things. And at the proper time, when the Lord thinks you’re ready and deems you worthy of a higher position, he’ll give you that opportunity.
But if you’re always criticizing those around you, saying, “I’m better than him. I’m better than her. Why are they in that position and I’m not?” you will be cast down.
Jesus humbled himself in this way his entire time on earth. He didn’t demand to be made king. Nor did he demand to have the best of everything even though he was certainly worthy of such things. Instead, he remained humble, taking the role of a servant all the way to the cross.
And now Paul says,
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (9-11)
So let us be like Jesus, remaining humble and serving where we can. And in due time, God will lift us up.