January 22, 2018 Luke 14:1-14
HUMILITY AND PLACES OF HONOR
MEDITATION: Have you ever felt foolish after presuming you would receive some form of recognition or honor that you felt you deserved while it ended up going to someone else? I know I have! Jesus’ culture was one that cultural anthropologists today refer to as an honor-shame culture, where you earned honor by conforming to socially prescribed roles, and you were shamed by your inability to do so. The glue that holds honor-shame cultures together is the quid pro quo relationship, where “I do something for you, and you do something for me.” Jesus subverts this mode of thinking when he teaches that we should pursue humility instead of honor, when he exhorts that “some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:30), and when he says says that when you throw a party you should invite those who will not be able to repay the honor. In all these teachings, Jesus is replacing the honor-shame culture with a culture of unmerited grace. This paradigm shift from honor and shame to humility and grace is just as much needed in our culture as it was in Jesus’ day.
FOR DISCUSSION: Can you think of any instances of when you felt trapped by expectations about impressing the “right” people? How does the college experience push students to be overly concerned with honor and/or shame? When have you experienced unmerited grace?
LINKS/OTHER RESOURCES: Learn more about the honor-shame culture of the New Testament here.