Jesus seems most disgusted by persons who “choose the best places for themselves.” (Luke 14:7, HCSB) These persons “recline at the best place” at a wedding (Luke 14:8), “love the front seat in the synagogues” (Luke 11:43), and pray, “God, I thank You that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.” (Luke 18:11-12) They invite only friends and relatives and rich neighbors to lunch “because they may invite [them] back” so they are repaid. (Luke 14:12)
Jesus knows these people who seek to be first — “to be exalted” — are to “be humbled, and the ones who humble themselves are to be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
The person justified before God, per Jesus, is the tax collector — the man who stands far off, “does not even raise his eyes to heaven but keeps striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me — a sinner!’ I tell you, this one goes down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14)
Lord, thank You so much for Your willingness to sacrifice Yourself for me, a sinner now saved by Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, amen.