Jesus, being the observer of character happening all around Him, perceived some interesting things happening at the dinner table. Since the society at His time was one of honour, the seat you sat in around the table carried significant meaning. The best seats were given to those of prestige, those who could repay the honour when they invited you to a dinner party hosted by themselves and for those who hoped they could improve their social status.
What do you think God would say to a person who wants to look good in the eyes of others when he humbles himself with the hope of being exalted? Normally we would say that person is guilty of false humility. True humility has no plans for being exalted by other people. It only desires the praise of God.
Yet, here we are engaged with some social etiquette from Jesus instructing us to do the very thing we know not to be true. Unfortunately, most of us read this parable as one of counsel or wisdom rather than one trying to continue to bring us to a place of maturity. Is it possible that Jesus was giving them seating advice or was it more like ironic advice? Instead of having them secure the best seats, maybe Jesus hoped that if they learned not to pursue what they desired, they might, in time, come to desire something higher and better.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at 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 the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:7-11