The first example is the lesson not to choose one's own place of honor, but rather display humility so that a host may display honor, emphasizing the humility you've shown. If one assumes honor and ends up having to "move down", so to speak, one then shows their own disgrace. This example is only the first part of the lesson, because in this, we are only dealing with people who are dealing with others within one's same social class. Jesus went to a private party, and understandably, he should not have been expected to deal with anything more than dinner and potentially interesting discussion. But again, with that very first verse, we've already been told, "they were watching him closely."
So Jesus has explained the first lesson, but since He's apparently expected to earn His own supper, Christ continues to teach the Pharisees. Blessed are those who are able to provide food, when others have nothing to offer in return. Here, Christ refers to the crippled, the lame, the blind. It would just as easy today to be people providing a meal for those who are homeless, who has AIDS, or who are abused. These are the people outside of "common society", and Jesus is reminding us to wake up, that you will be repaid "at the resurrection of the righteous.”
This has got to be pretty heavy dinner conversation, but that's right, you missed the first part of the discussion Jesus first told in Verses 2 through 6:
"Just then, in front of him [that would be Christ], there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, 'Is it lawful to cure people on the Sabbath, or not?' But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, 'If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a Sabbath day?' And they could not reply to this."
Very often, these lessons from Christ seem repetitive, and so the portions are skipped in our Sunday lesson. Dropsy was a collective term for conditions including everything from simple edema to deadly swellings of the lungs. Luke did not define the problem, but given the man stopped at a private home to see Christ, it was probably not just something easily treated by other physicians on the Sabbath. But Jesus wanted other people to realize that, even if it was something non-threatening, people could have "a child or an ox that had fallen."
All of the lessons in this Gospel are asking people to think – what would they want if they were in the situation? Are they open to realizing that God would like us to take care of His people, feeding His sheep as Christ will later ask Peter?
Christ takes time before telling the next part of this same dinner where Jesus was attending. And here, you will find that the perspective is changing from people being invited and encouraged by Christ, to the perspective of God basically setting down the law.
One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
So here again, we're given understand that God is providing us many opportunities, but eventually, God will set His mind. We don't know when we will be called in. What we do have are the opportunity to choose to follow God – or not. We do know that part of that responsibility is teaching others so that they, too, have the opportunity to choose to follow Christ.
This whole story in Luke provides each of us the chance through Christ the opportunity for a full lesson. Should we follow the letter of the law, or live with the spirit of the law? Should we maintain our own humility so that our position can be raised through someone else's regard for our raised opinion? Should we care for the least, the lost and the last, so that we maintain the blessing we will be paid at the resurrection? And finally, do we realize that time is not infinite? We truly do have a decision to make in how we treat those God provides us.