“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
At a dinner where Pharisees were scrambling for the “places of honor at the table” Jesus told a parable instructing them to take humble seats, for if the host asks them to move to a higher seat they will be exalted and if the host asks them to move to a lower seat they will be shamed before everyone. While this may come across as a sly way to get ahead by practicing a false humility in order for the host to publicly “indicate your intrinsic superiority” (Elwell, 825), v11 shows that Jesus was clearly illustrating the Kingdom law of “humility before honor,” which demands “self-humbling” and the elevation of others (Howell, 237).
Jesus summary of the parable shows that such a motive “is still diseased with the root problem of trying to advance oneself above others” (Elwell, 825). Jesus teaching here certainly wasn't new, His entire ministry was littered with many illustrations that have been coined as “upside-down kingdom” references. Jesus said: “the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew, 19:30, Matthew 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:60). Jesus final instruction regarding His disciples' argument over who was the greatest was solved by washing their feet saying “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet” (John 13:14). Jesus' teachings weren't new in themselves either, for Jesus was merely reiterating what had been forgotten in the Old Testament. Proverbs claims the same truth of “The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor” thee different ways (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12, 22:4). Moses states that God had the Israelites wander in the desert to humble them (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16) before receiving the honor of the promised land. The list goes on, making it clear that Jesus was serious when He taught the old unbreakable law of old, that humility indeed precedes honor from God.