February 10, 2020

Be Humble or Be Humbled

Luke 14:1–24

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Healing of a Man on the Sabbath

One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son1 or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers2 or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant3 to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,4 none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”


[1] 14:5 Some manuscripts a donkey
[2] 14:12 Or your brothers and sisters
[3] 14:17 Or bondservant; also verses 21 (twice), 22, 23
[4] 14:24 The Greek word for you here is plural

Be Humble or Be Humbled

Key Verse | Luke 14:11

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Bio | John Rudder

Happy Monday! My name is John, and I am currently engaged to a beautiful woman named Alex, whom I met through attending Watermark's young adults ministry, The Porch. We also went through Merge while dating and highly recommend it for any dating or engaged couples. We are now a month away from getting married and are so excited! Throughout this season, God has been working on my heart, teaching me to be more humble and selfless, specifically in serving Alex. Good thing! I've heard from more experienced couples that selflessness and humility are very useful in marriage!

Central Truth

Humility is important to God. Jesus advises us to be humble, and gently tells us that if we aren't humble, we will be humbled. Pride is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Bible as something God doesn't like, and since He advises against it, we should listen.

Devotional | Luke 14:1–24

Recently, I have noticed areas of my life in which I have been prideful. Between planning a wedding, honeymoon, and an eventual move after we are married, there's so much demanding my input. I sometimes...

Recently, I have noticed areas of my life in which I have been prideful. Between planning a wedding, honeymoon, and an eventual move after we are married, there's so much demanding my input. I sometimes become consumed with everything and center it all around me.

Luke 14:7-11 is relevant to this struggle. Jesus uses a wedding-related parable to explain to the Pharisees (people who struggled with pride like I do) the importance of humility and the consequences of pride or selfish ambition. Would you rather choose to be humble or be prideful and then be humbled, the latter likely resulting in embarrassment? 

If you think about salvation, it requires humility, too. It requires us to realize there is nothing we can ever do to be saved. Only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus' work on the cross are we rescued (Ephesians 2:8-9).

In Luke 14:12-24, Jesus tells a parable of a great banquet by highlighting who was invited and the excuses they made for not coming. The banquet Jesus alluded to is the future banquet following the wedding of Jesus and His bride, the Church—the community of those who have accepted Jesus' invitation of salvation (Romans 6:23). If you don't accept the invitation, or if you make excuses concerning your availability, then you will miss out on the great banquet (i.e., eternal life)!

Before I trusted Christ, I was prideful, thinking I could do whatever I felt like doing to please myself without any consequences. I had "better" things to think about than Jesus. I was pursuing the Dallas life—the girl, the nice watch, the nice car, the "millionaire-by-30" dream—until God humbled me, and everything changed. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I realized that focusing on the eternal and serving God brought me more lasting joy than any of those temporal pursuits could ever bring.

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Discussion Questions

1. What are some areas in your life where you could have more humility? Work? School? Your relationship with your spouse or kids? Ask friends, family, community, or anyone close to you if they see an area of your life where you've put yourself first and need humility. Then pray together, asking God to help you stay humble, put Him first, and others before yourself.

2. Examine the past several times you've served others and honestly ask yourself: what was the motive behind serving? Was it for appearances? Was it so someone could say something nice about you? Was it so you could get something in return? Or was it out of a selfless love for others to glorify God? Pray that God would reveal that to you and help you have a heart focused on serving and glorifying Him.

3. Are there things that hold you back from accepting God's invitation to completely lay down your life, follow Him, and experience His best for you? If so, what are they? Knowing this, do you think there are things in your life that God may be asking you to cut out or prioritize over others? Pray that God reveals these to you and ask for His help to be able to do what He wants you to do.

12 Comments available

Alexandra Greinke 6 months ago
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I’m grateful this is something you recognize, study and continue to work on!

Julio Cortes 6 months ago

Great job, John. Thank you for the reminder on humilty and your transparency about chasing the ‘Dallas life’. I can relate very much. Thank God for His forgiveness to bring me to relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:4-5). Praying for your wedding and your marriage.

Lindsey Driscoll 6 months ago

Good devo John, way to drive him what Jesus was talking about…humility. In meditation on verse 11 I am asking myself what “exalting myself” looks like in my life. In kids ministry we say a sin is anything we “say think or do that does not please God.” I think exalting myself looks like the things that I say think or do that are self seeking rather than giving honor to God.

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

Regarding the great banquet,

I really like the communion hymn that was written as part of “Songs for [the book of] Luke” as part of the Gospel Coalition conference on Luke a few years ago. “Come to the Feast”

Go to the highways and hedges, go to the farthest of fields go and compel the sick and the well for our fathers house will be filled…

… all who must taste this banquet of grace must waste no more time.


(looks like the whole album is here)

michael mcgowen 6 months ago

Seems like being sunk deep into humility or humbleness is counterproductive but it’s made me a kinder person, it definitely zaps all the energy out of me trying to swim against the current definitely watermark people seem way better than me but that’s not hard to do lol, maybe you can give me the energy to put a dinner together this week and invite people you want me to invite wow it’s literally gonna take your help, and it’s only Monday, we love you lord

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

In some other gospel accounts, the religious leaders were upset Jesus healed on the Sabbath but didn’t seem to have a problem planning Jesus murder (on the Sabbath) (which seems to be really unkosher an activity).

greg jones 6 months ago

Matt10:40-42 talks about rewards. The person who receives a righteous man receives a righteous mans reward. He who receives a prophet receives a prophets reward. Give a disciple a cup of cold water and by no means will you lose your reward.

Jesus teaches, one who is reclining at the table with him, Luke doesn’t tell us who, says, blessed are those who eat bread in the kingdom.

Reclining at the table is a clue.

If the poor, lame, and blind recline at the table listening to the reports on the oxen, field, and wife purchased/married, are they expecting a righteous mans reward? Or are they thinking “I should get this guy a cup of water”?

CS Lewis, the guy who wrote a bunch of books said “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

Good devotional concerning pride humility.

Gabriel Adel 6 months ago

Liked Central Truth John!

“Humility is important to God. Jesus advises us to be humble, and gently tells us that if we aren’t humble, we will be humbled. Pride is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Bible as something God doesn’t like, and since He advises against it, we should listen”

Thanks for Devotional sharing. It’s an application to christian life and christian Walk.

Trey Collins 6 months ago

Gmorn John, great devo! Humility is such an attractive character quality to me, one that I struggle with also. Really, I struggle with having pride, which is to say I naturally go towards glorifying myself over God.

When I spend time thinking about who God is, and then who I am in comparison, it makes pride disappear quickly and completely. As the lyrics to one of my favorite songs go:

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth, would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the eyes that see no sin, would look at me with love, and watch me rise again?”

Praying for us this morning John to be humble servants of Christ Jesus!

Sue Bohlin 6 months ago

Thank you, John. If you think that being married will teach you and Alex about selfishness (and oh it will), just know that becoming parents will be that lesson on steroids!

I was blessed by a small observation in today’s passage. I looked at the Greek for the word “healed” and saw that it includes the meaning “made whole.” That is so satisfying to me, as I think about how illness or disability or woundedness results in bodies or souls being less than healthy and strong–and whole. Particularly in the context of what God does at re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, we see a LOT of soul-healing as He brings wholeness to sections of people’s hearts and souls.

Wholeness is God’s intention for us and it’s also His work in us as we submit to Him and abide in Him.

Hope Harris 6 months ago

GM JTJ Friends,

This mornings reading has inspired me to think about the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:6-9

I am picturing the guests seated at the table a ragamuffin crew of redeemed sinners saved by grace. I am invited to the table to come celebrate and worship my savior.

Hugh Stephenson 6 months ago

GM John. Love your Key Verse. Its one of my life verses.

When I was taught that all sins come from pride, I was surprised. It was as if a voice said, “See? I told you it was not all about you.”

A friend says, “If you really don’t want to do X, consider that X may be exactly what God wants you to do.” I didn’t/don’t like that. I want what I want when I want it. If I serve someone else, I want it to be on my terms and my schedule.

Luke 9:23 teaches me the opposite.

Another friend asks, “What is the most important attribute of Jesus. I said “mercy”. He responded “obedience”. I link to Luke 22:42.

2 Timothy 3:16 - I am called to know God’s nature and character; His goodness and kindness. Trust and obedience will be the joy of my heart.

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