“And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. ‘But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matt. 22:1-4 (ESV, bold emphasis added).
The NIV translates the last line, verse 14, as “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Who is Jesus talking to in this instance and what meaning should we attribute to the verse? In short, Jesus is reminding his hearers that though there is a general call to the gospel for all, there is a specific call to saving faith for the elect. But let’s dive deeper and take a look at the wider passage. This verse is recorded in a section of Matthew, chapter 22, under the heading The Parable of the Wedding Feast or The Parable of the Wedding Banquet in the ESV and NIV respectively. What do we know about this verse at first glance?
- The verse is recorded in one of the Gospel books, the Gospel of Matthew.
- The verse is spoken by Jesus as recorded by Matthew.
- The verse is shared by Jesus as part of a parable, in fact, it is the last line of the parable.
- The parable is the parable of the wedding feast.
- We know that Jesus often used parables to explain the Kingdom of God.
The first group to consider would be the Israelites. The Old Testament addressed them in Deuteronomy 14:2, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the people who are on the face of the earth.”
Sometimes knowing you’re the Chosen One isn’t as easy as being told, straight-up, that you’re destined for greater things. Sometimes knowing you’re the Chosen One means picking up on subtle clues and slowly coming to terms with the fact that you’re the prince that was promised, or the anointed one, or The Foretold.
God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 We encouraged you and comforted you as we urged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.