Luke 14:1, 7-14 and Waldenström's Commentary
Gospel Lesson for the Thirteenth Sunday after Penecost
Dr. Paul Peter Waldenström based his comments on a Greek New Testament text which he translated into Swedish. Tommy Carlson has translated both the Biblical text and Waldenström's comments from the Swedish text, 2nd Edition, 1902. — Ed.
Verse 1 — And1 it happened, when on a sabbath, he came to eat2 in a house belonging to one of the leaders3 of the Pharisees who was trying to trick him.4
1. The story of what was talked about and done at this feast is told only in Luke. He does not report where and when it happened.
2. That Jesus was invited can be seen in verse 12.
3. That is to say: the foremost leader of the Pharisees.
4. The invitation was not genuine but, rather, meant to trap Jesus. They wanted to see if he would give them cause for accusations against him.
Verse 7 — But he told those who were invited a parable,1 when he noticed how they sought the foremost place of honor for themselves, saying to them:
1. The Lord's words are not really a parable. Rather, he gives admonitions about right behavior at a banquet. Also in verse 11 he describes how important it is to be humble and how dangerous to be arrogant, especially with regard to entering God's Kingdom. In this regard his admonitions are like a parable. Note also: when the Lord accepts an invitation to a banquet from a nonbeliever, he uses the occasion to witness about the truth to both host and guests. The one who does not have the courage and strength for such witness should at least, if invited, show enough courage not to come.
Verse 8 — When you are invited by someone to a wedding, do not place yourself in the seat of honor lest someone more distinguished than you has been invited;
Verse 9 — and the one who has invited you both, may come and say to you: "Give your place to this person;" and then with embarrassment you will have to1 take a lower place.
1. With that humiliation it goes from one to the other until you sit in the last place.
Verse 10 — But, rather, when you have been invited, go to the last place, so that when he who has invited you comes and says to you: "My friend come here1 and sit in a higher place." Then you will be honored before all who are at the table with you.
1. The host stands by the higher place and to that place he invites you, the dear guest. Compare Proverbs 25:7.
Verse 11 — Because each and everyone who exalts himself shall be humiliated and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. 1 Job 22:29; Proverbs 29:23; Luke 18:14; 1 Peter 5:5.
1. The words describe what it means and how important it is to be humble. They allude especially to how it will be in the Messiah's Kingdom. See Matthew 23:12. Perhaps thoughts about this Kingdom were the reason why the Lord speaks of a wedding rather than a feast in general in verse 8. Compare Matthew 22:2 ff.
Verse 12 — Then he said to the host: "When you give a breakfast or a dinner do not ask your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors for fear that they may invite you in return.1
1. For when you receive your reward here you will not receive any from God in his kingdom. You have already received your reward (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). The Lord does not say that it is a sin to invite friends and neighbors. But he does say that it will be a big loss, if for this reason, the poor and the wretched are not invited. Because, when such are invited, one receives a reward in God's Kingdom, a reward one loses if one is rewarded here on earth. To lose out on a reward in God's Kingdom, is an unspeakable loss.
Verse 13 — but when you have a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.
Verse 14 — And blessed are you, since they cannot reward you (in return); but you shall be rewarded at the resurrection of the righteous."
1. The Jews taught a double resurrection and here Christ approves it. Compare chapter 20:34-36 and Matthew 24:31. In Paul's letters, the same lesson is found in several places (I Corinthians 15:22 ff; I Thessalonians 4:16; Acts 24:15). By the righteous the Lord means those who are righteous before God. It is through faith that one becomes righteous which is taught throughout the Gospels. In I Corinthians 15:22 those who are called righteous are identified as those who belong to Christ.