Monday, May 18, 2009

Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen

Matthew 22:14 Many are called, but few are chosen.

The first time I ever read this verse, I wondered if I was worthy enough to be chosen, and immediately determined that I was not. Then I wondered if I would ever be worthy to be chosen, and again, determined the answer was no. However, after spending time learning about this passage, I now understand what verse 14 really means.

At first glance, this parable in Matthew 22:1-14 could appear to be just about a wedding. A story about inconsiderate people who thought they were too snooty or too busy to attend a wedding they had been invited too. A parable about how some seemingly undesirables, got invited to a respectable occasion simply because nobody else could come. But if we delve deeper into it, we can begin to see the underlying meaning.

The people who were invited off the streets, who were not on the original "invite list", symbolize the ones who accepted Christ, and all those who refused to come, symbolize the many people who rejected Christ.

Now when we think of the word "many", we typically think it means "most, but not all". However, in the Greek language, the word "many" is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. In other words, if I say in English that “many of the people came to my party”, it implies that some people came but most of them did not. But if I were to say that “many of the people came to my party” in Greek, it would imply that practically everyone did, and only a few did not come. So when this verse says "many are called", it really means that everyone was called, not just most of them.

So everyone was invited to this "wedding banquet", but nobody came, because they did not have time for Christ. The banquet is actually a metaphor for the invitation to salvation. The people who chose not to come did so because their hearts were filled with hypocrisy, instead of righteousness, and as a result they missed the opportunity to celebrate the gift of Jesus. Even one person who did come to the banquet, was thrown out, because his heart was not in the right place, and he did not wear the right wedding attire, the armor of God. His heart was not surrendered to Christ, and therefore he could not partake in the gift of salvation.

Now keep in mind, that these "many" people did not miss out on salvation because it was not offered to them, but instead because they did not accept the invitation to receive the free gift. They chose to follow their own agendas instead of take time to accept Christ and live a life that gloried Him.

Selfishness, financial gain, personal goals, career aspirations, etc., drove their desires, and therefore prevented them from desiring to know God, and separated them from God for eternity.

Does that sound a little more familiar now?

How many people do you know that simply do not have time for Christ, are too tired for church on Sundays, think they are doing fine on their own, or are too busy or having too much fun in life to worry about what will happen when their life comes to an end?

Do you know anyone who is so caught up in living life the way they want to, that they are blind to the life they could have if they chose to follow in the ways of Christ?

This parable explains that many people (meaning all) were originally called to the wedding-feast, that is, to salvation, but few wore the wedding-garment, the righteousness of Christ, and were chosen to attend.

Every living being from the beginning of time to the present to the day that time ends, is invited/called to the banquet, but only those who are sanctified in the Spirit will be chosen to come in. Only those who accept Christ as their Savior will be allowed to enjoy the royal feast that God prepared.

We are those undesirables, sinners called off the streets, invited to a royal banquet which we dont deserve to be at, but welcomed as beloved children because we have chosen to love Christ and believe that He is the Son of God.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, your denomination, your personal convictions, or even your rejection of God - YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED.

First, called to accept the gift of salvation, and secondly, called to live out Gods will for your life, in whatever way He has called you to serve.

So are you and I worthy to be chosen? No. But if we accept Gods offer to attend the banquet, we become worthy. Chosen.... not because of who we are, or what we have done, but because of who He is, and what He has done.

If you have accepted the calling to become a child of the most high King, then you have been chosen to attend the most royal of all banquets. You are a welcomed and treasured guest, approved, loved and accepted by the King.

If you have rejected the invitation to the banquet, then you are walking away from the gift of salvation, and one day, will forever be separated from Christ. But take heart, it is never too late to open your invitation and partake in the feast.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that this parable does not mean that God calls a lot of people, picks over them, and keeps only a few that He thinks are worthy. If that were true, the middle of the parable would have no meaning. Instead, it means that God calls everyone and gives them all the power to respond.

To be chosen, we must respond to the call, using the power God gave us for that purpose.

You have been called, and you are worthy to be chosen. Whether or not you are chosen, rest in your own hands.

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Vern ~ Inspired said...

What a beautiful translation of this verse. Your words spoke with great love, power and clarity!

Deborah said...

This meant a lot to me. I'm going to copy "Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen" and put it in my Bible.


Anonymous said...

I really needed this today. It's been a "failure" week, one right after another and I've been feeling like one of the unchosen ones. Oh, how I want to be at the banquet!

Jill said...

Great words Tracie, I love the way you apply the parable to our lives today. Very powerful!