Today this passage begins with another testing of Jesus; this time, the healing of a man with dropsy (edema). Jesus heals him and then quickly put the testers in their place. He goes on to address another issue of the heart - the desire to feel important through gaining recognition in social standing.
Where you sat at important events at the dinner table could reveal your importance in the eyes of the host and, obviously, the guests. We get terms like “right hand man” and “head of the table” from this kind of thinking. In scripture we read passages that say, “Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father.” (Luke 22:69) The disciples even asked to sit at the side of Jesus in the kingdom to come. At this request from James and John’s mother (Matt 20:21), Jesus taught them about serving and humility and how the first will be last and the last first.
The point Jesus is making is that while people are concerned with social status, God is more concerned about character and humility of the heart. God sees the thoughts and motives of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Everyone likes to be appreciated and rightly so, but does gaining the approval of others drive your life and actions? Of all the people, whose respect do you seek the most? Where does God stand in this list?