Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine
This story is another story about Jesus teaching on his way up to Jerusalem. In this instance it is a story about a conversation that happens when Jesus is at the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath. It was a Sabbath celebration and a big dinner because there are a significant number of guests. The issue is where to sit. The controversy is generated by Jesus when he observes guests vying for the best seats at the table.
The structure of this series of sayings is the setting followed by a parable. Jesus was eating a meal on the Sabbath and they were watching him closely. Then he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor and told them a parable.
The first parable consists of three episodes around the issues of where you sit at a banquet.
Episode 1: The first episode is what you should not do. Don't sit at the place of honor in case someone more distinguished comes.
Episode 2: The second part has the same structure but in this case the recommendation is sit down at the lowest place so that when your host comes, he may say friend move up higher.
Episode 3: The end of these recommendations about where to sit at a banquet is the point of this parable: "All who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Episode 4: The fourth episode is a recommendation by Jesus to the host: "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite…but when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind." Once again the teaching in regard to this follows:"You'll be blessed because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
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