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9th July 2024

Many are called but few are Chosen

Jesus uses parables to speak about some of the profound truths & deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
Within Jesus’s parables there is always a hugely relevant story with a deeper ‘veiled’ meaning for those that are truly seeking.
Alongside this Jesus often uses pithy statements or memorable phrases to draw & catch people’s attention.
It is one of those statements we will explore & think about in this week’s TFD series.
The phrase in question is ‘many are called but few are chosen’.

So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 NKJV

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14 NKJV

Our chosen phrase is used to conclude two of Jesus’ parables in our modern Bibles.
The parable of the vineyard workers & the parable of the wedding feast / banquet.
In the earliest manuscripts (Bibles) it is only the parable of the wedding feast that carries the phrase.
Both parables, through differing scenario’s, highlight the generosity, goodness, grace & love of the host.
The host (the vineyard owner & wedding banquet provider) in both parables is a clear reference to God.
The point being made is that God, a most benevolent host, extends a generous invitation to all. SELAH

In both parables those invited have problems associated with the benevolent & incredibly generous actions of the host.
Everyone was invited to work in the vineyard for the same daily pay no matter what time of day they started.
The vineyard owner’s generosity is questioned & challenged as he treats & rewards all equally alike.
Everyone was invited to the wedding banquet to feast & party, but they were expected to turn up in wedding attire.
The invitation to the wedding feast is refused & rejected by many & then treated disrespectfully by a guest who gets expelled.
Jesus’ point is that Israel, especially the religious leaders, are questioning & then rejecting the plans, purpose & call of God. SELAH

God, In & through Jesus Christ, has extended a generous invitation to all which requires a right & proper response.
Everyone has been called (invited) & people show by the manner of their response that they are chosen.
The invitation to be a vineyard worker was sent out throughout the day. People responded at different times.
The wedding invitation went to the ‘elect’ who refused & was then extended to all & sundry – ‘everyone’.
At the wedding banquet the guests showed, by their dress code, how they had responded to the invitation & summons.
In both parables there is a delay between the invitation & the reward. The initial call & then the revealing of those who are chosen.
It is not so much how we begin (though it is good to begin well) but how we end that is crucial. SELAH
All were called but it was payment time at the end of the working day & the wedding banquet that revealed who was chosen!!
You are called & chosen ‘In Christ’, so keep on responding rightly. Hallelujah!!

For Reflection

  • In what ways am I responding to the call of God upon my life?
  • How do I respond to the amazing generosity, unlimited kindness & outrageous grace of God to myself & others?
  • Meditate upon how the generous invitation that God has extended to all mankind in Jesus Christ.

A song related to this theme:


Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Your goodness, grace, generosity & great love,
Revealed so magnificently in Your Son & my Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. |
Jesus, thank you that You reveal the will, ways & word of God through Your life & teaching,
Help me to discern & understand Your kingdom parables by revelation from Your Spirit.
Holy Spirit help me to rightly respond to the call of God upon my life,
That through my attitudes, ambitions, appetites & actions I might reveal that I am a chosen one of God.
This I ask in the mighty Name of Jesus.

Written by Gareth Jones

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