Jesus responded by speaking again in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. He sent his servants to call those invited to the wedding party. But they didn’t want to come. Again he sent other servants and said to them, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, the meal is all prepared. I’ve butchered the oxen and the fattened cattle. Now everything’s ready. Come to the wedding party!” ’ But they paid no attention and went away—some to their fields, others to their businesses. The rest of them grabbed his servants, abused them, and killed them. “The king was angry. He sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Therefore, go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party.’ “Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party was full of guests. Now when the king came in and saw the guests, he spotted a man who wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he was speechless. Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet and throw him out into the farthest darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.’ “Many people are invited, but few people are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14, Common English Bible).
When I was a kid I was very involved in Boy Scouts. There are a variety of ceremonies in Scouting. One of which was based in Native American lore. During this ceremony, candidates were called and as part of the ceremony a green wreath was placed around their neck. There were extra wreaths made before the ceremony. At the end, after everyone had been called, the chief walked over to the extras and said, “Many are called…” and he bent over, picking up the extras and walking to the fire, threw the extras into the fire and said, “but few are chosen.”
When I read today’s lesson from other translations like the New Revised Standard Version of the King James Version, I find the words are identical to the ceremony I described above. My mind always goes back to that ceremony.
I think the reason my mind always goes back is, when the chief throws those wreaths into the fire while saying the words, it is a very visual and symbolic portrayal of the words of this parable. And, in reality, there are the many who are called but few ill be chosen.
It actually sounds somewhat negative. But, here is the deal. We are all called. God, through prevenient grace pursues a relationship with every one of us. We are the problem. As we talked about yesterday, we don’t take the invitation to the wedding seriously. We are all called.
The end result is, while many of us are called, few of us are chosen. But, in the end it isn’t God doing the real choosing, it is us. God calls us. Many of us chose not to accept the invitation.
Will you accept the invitation?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved