…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
At the end of the parable of the wedding banquet feast (Matthew 22:1-14), Jesus ends the parable with
For many are called,
but few are chosen.
What did Jesus mean?
God’s sovereignty … or man’s free will?
Is everyone called, or … only some?
Are some specially chosen? … Who are they?
Besides being called and chosen, … is there anything else?
… what else is the Lord looking for?
(we’ll explore this in the second part of this post)
To explore the meaning of Bible passages,
we’ll be using the Bible to explain itself,
— God’s exquisitely written word to us.
> Parable of the wedding banquet feast
> Summary — many called, but few chosen
> Called & Chosen … what to put on?
> Servant slave of the King
> Called, chosen, … is there anything else?
Before diving into the parable of the wedding banquet feast, lets look into the,
background context of this parable, and some principles of interpretation.
Matthew 21:23 to 22:14, is one conversation of interactive teaching between Jesus and His audience.
Jesus was in the temple (Matthew 11:23) with the religious leaders and a crowd.
3 parables was shared, .. each building upon each other, .. ending with the 3rd parable of the wedding banquet feast.
and Jesus’ statement — 24:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The Bible is written for everyday folks to understand; one way is through simple stories, parables.
Like reading any book or article, to grasp the meaning, …
an individual statement has to be objectively viewed and understood in its original context & background,
in order to understand the intention of the author or speaker.
This avoids un-intended meanings from contemporary eyes or pre-disposed preferences,
or viewing the rest of the story through the lens of just one statement.
Furthermore, like reading any story from a book or article,
‘Why?‘ a statement is made, and ‘What?’ its original meaning was,
depends on ‘Who?’ the statement was spoken to,
and ‘How?’ was the reaction of the original hearers who heard it.
The meaning should also be consistent with other references in the rest of the Bible.
… Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 2 Corinthians 13:1 (NASB)
In this conversation in the temple, there is a series of questions.
The interaction begins with the religious leaders asking Jesus a question:
21:23 “By what authority are You doing these things,
and who gave You this authority?”
Jesus reply was a question,
21:25 The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?”
In the 1st parable on a father and 2 sons, a father said to both sons
‘Son, go work today in the vineyard’.
At the end of the parable, Jesus asked a question
21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
Which one obeyed the father’s authority and faithfully worked in the vineyard,
…. and which one was just lip service?
Which one loved the father?
Then, Jesus made a statement,
…. Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God
At the end of the the 2nd parable on a landowner and his tenants,
21:42 Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
21:43 Therefore I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
Matthew 11:42-44 (NASB)
(we’ll be referencing these statements that Jesus made, when we explore the 3rd parable)
In this passage, .. the Pharisees are mentioned.
What’s a Pharisee?
Luke gives a simple description
— some who were confident of their own righteousness
and looked down on everyone else Luke 18:9 (NIV)
(in the introduction of the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector.)
i.e. a group that’s self-righteous, and feels privileged, special, above others.
In the three parables, the Lord is introduced as a father, a landowner and a king, … and how the Lord was received by different ones.
Parable of the wedding banquet feast(Matthew 22:1-14 NASB)
After hearing the first 2 parables,
21:45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables,
they understood that He was speaking about them.
46 When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people,
because they considered Him to be a prophet.
Who was amongst Jesus’ audience?
What were the responses to Jesus’ parable message to them?
22:1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying,
2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared
to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.
Who is the king in the kingdom of heaven?
The wedding feast was for who?
3 And he sent out his slaves to call (καλέω kaléō) those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and
they were unwilling to come.
Those he first invited — καλέω kaléō — to call (Strong)
3 … they were unwilling to come.
they refused to come (NIV)
4 Again he sent out other slaves saying,
‘Tell those who have been invited, (καλέω kaléō)
“Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and
everything is ready;
come to the wedding feast.”’
When the wedding feast was ready,
the king again graciously sent a second invitation call, .. a reminder,
hoping they’ll accept and come.
The king didn’t have to go the extra mile to send reminders.
5 But they paid no attention
and went their way,
one to his own farm, another to his business,
Some went their way,
with their own busy lives, .. their own business interests.
paid no attention,
no interest to meet, .. & spend time with the king,
no interest to come before the king’s throne, .. at all,
no desire to fellowship with the king, … be with the king.
Its clear what & where their priorities were.
... you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy,
and have need of nothing” … Revelation 3:17
6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.
Others, … were worse … they reacted violently,
seized, .. mistreated and killed the messengers who peacefully brought the invitation to the marriage feast of the king’s son.
( .. who wanted to seize who, earlier?
see Matthew notes before this parable was shared)
To the king’s invitation:
some ignored and rejected,
others violently opposed,
They all refused to come. They ignored the king’s invitation.
They wished to just go on with the things in life, … without any relationship with the king.
They dishonored the king, and some utterly rejected his invitations in a violent way.
(having received the king’s gracious invitation more than once)
During the time of the Bible, … was it a trivial thing to ignore the kings’ invitation?
How did the King feel?
7 But the king was enraged,
and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers
and set their city on fire.
The king was enraged and offended,
he responded in his authority with judgment,
and avenged the lives of the slaves who died.
(a prophetic note for Jesus’ audience)
8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready,
but those who were invited (καλέω kaléō)
were not worthy.
[did not deserve to come. (NIV)]
Again, the king directed his servant slaves,
9 Go therefore to the main highways,
and as many as you find there,
invite (καλέω kaléō) to the wedding feast.’
10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together
all they found,
both evil and good;
and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
Thus, from the two groups who received the invitation call, …
Which of the two did the will of the father?” (Matthew 22:31)
The king sent out a new invitation,
this time to an unlikely group of guests from the
highways and streets, … both evil and good.
A group that did not expect
& were not expected
to be invited to the king’s banquet.
Due to the response of the first group,
the first group became not worthy, not deserving to come.
In an unexpected twist,
the king invites the not worthy, and not deserving 🙂
The king’s generous, magnanimous, open invitation call to all.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and will dine with him,
and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 (NASB)
Like the opening of flood gates, … this second group responded eagerly,
the wedding hall was filled with dinner guest
an amazing, overwhelming response,
… compared with the cold apathy of the first group who were invited/called.
Jesus’ parable mirrored the 2 groups that heard Jesus in the temple,
— they sought to seize Him, (the religious leaders)
— the people … considered Him to be a prophet. (the ordinary people)
Continuing with the parable,
11 But when the king came in to view the guests,
he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding.
12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’
The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The king asked the man,
‘Friend, how did you come in here without wearing the wedding clothes
[that were provided for you]?’ (AMP)
Like everyone who came,
this man accepted the king’s invitation.
Those who came, they were dressed in wedding clothes.
… who have not soiled their garments; …
… clothed in white garments; … Revelation 3:4, 5
Unlike everyone who came,
this man did not change into the wedding clothes provided for him;
he chose to come in his own clothes, … ‘I did it my way’
When the king asked him,
The man was speechless.
He had no excuse, … & no one to blame,
else he would have given an answer.
It wasn’t about him not having one, or could not afford one.
The king freely provided.
He dis-honored the king, .. he rejected the wedding clothes given to him.
His willful action was unacceptable to the king.
Thus the man was thrown out of the wedding feast,
into the outer darkness.
The king graciously provided everything:
the call, the banquet, the clothes
— a reflection of God’s grace.
Jesus ends the parable, saying,
14 For many are called (κλητός klētos),
but few are chosen. (ἐκλεκτός eklektos)”
( a memorable play of word in the original Greek )
And, … what’s the reaction of the listeners who heard Jesus?
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted together
how they might trap Him in what He said.
From the reaction of this group,
(… as noted by Matthew at the beginning & the end of the parable)
its clear they were offended by the parables.
They were confident that they were the called and chosen
— they had the Scriptures, the heritage, and proud of their strict devout deeds,
and just go on with the things in life, … without a living relationship with the king.
However, Paul, who was once a Pharisee, wrote:
2 For I can testify about them
that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God
and sought to establish their own, (righteousness)
they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Romans 10:2-4 (NIV)
In Jesus’ parable,
… the ones who were called and chosen at the wedding banquet,
were others; (second group)
they responded from their heart
to the king.
They accepted the king’s invitation
and came, … in the right wedding clothes.
Whilst, the first group was called, … but they ignored the king.
What about the one man who came without wedding clothes,
dressed in his own clothes?
Garments and clothing oneself, … is used as a symbolic metaphor in some of the parts in the Bible; … such is the case in this parable. What does it mean?
From the Scriptures, that the Pharisees were familiar with,
The prophet Isaiah wrote:
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds
are like a filthy garment; …
Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
in the eyes of the Lord,
all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment,
The man came in his own clothes in the parable.
the prophet Zechariah wrote:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, …
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.
4 The angel said to those who were standing before him,
“Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua,
“See, I have taken away your sin,
and I will put fine garments on you.”
Zechariah 3:1, 3,4 (NIV)
In this prophecy that Zechariah saw,
the Lord clothed the high priest, Joshua, in His fine garments,
after taking away his filthy clothes,
taking away his sin.
There was nothing Joshua had to do to receive God’s fine garments of righteousness.
… ““Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow; ….” Isaiah 1:18 (NASB)
Only by believing and turning to the Lord,
and receiving His grace
is our sin taken away by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus.
The Lord clothes us with His white garment of righteousness, praise and salvation. (Isaiah 61:3, 10)
for both the evil and good who come to Him.
David prayed, after his sin with Bathsheba:
… wash me,
and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 (NIV)
God’s righteousness is given through faith
in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God,
to all who believe
Revelations 7:14, 15, 17 (NASB)
14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.”
And he said to me,
“These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have
washed their robes
and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb.
15 For this reason,
they are before the throne of God; …
17 … and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
22 This righteousness is given through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
23 for all
have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and all
are justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
At the temple, the audience heard these parables from Christ Jesus himself,
right in their very midst, … Jesus personally gave them the call
This righteousness is given through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
yet, … only, some believed & received.
only by grace
Furthermore, .. in the Scriptures, the prophet Isaiah also prophesised about a great feast,
Isaiah 25:6-9 (NASB)
6 The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
At the end of the book of Revelation, John saw this banquet feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9).
Summary — many called, but few chosen
In summary, this parable of the wedding banquet feast is neatly captured by Jesus and Paul,
Before this parable,
11:31 …. Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that
the tax collectors and prostitutes
will get into the kingdom of God
before you. ..”
the tax collectors and prostitutes … received Jesus
eg. Matthew, Zacchaeus, Rahab, the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman, etc.
and also, the many who came & entered the kingdom of God,
from the highways and streets, … both evil and good,
Those who did not expect & were not expected came.
While those who were confident in their own righteousness,
… did not turn up,
will miss out.
Paul wrote in Romans 9:30-33 (NASB)
30 What shall we say then?
That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness,
even the righteousness which is by faith;
31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness,
did not arrive at that law.
that law –> the righteousness which is by faith
Because they did not pursue it by faith,
as though it were by works.
They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
No matter who, … Gentiles or Jews,
prostitutes, tax-collectors or Pharisees,
he who believes in Him, receives the righteousness which is by faith
… whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved …
Joel 2: 32, Acts 2:21 (NKJV)
(please also check Matthew 11:42-44 — what Jesus said just before the parable of the wedding banquet feast, … the exquisite word of God explains itself.)
Therefore, those who were confident that
they are the specially called and chosen,
will find that many are called, but few are chosen 22:14
Thus, Jesus’ statement aroused this group of listeners,
22:15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted together
how they might trap Him in what He said.
in Christ alone
Called & Chosen … what to put on?
Let’s examine the called, and the chosen, …
called –– κλητός klētós, called, invited (Strong),
From this parable,
who are the called, invited to the wedding feast banquet?
everyone from everywhere
1 Corinthians 1:24 (NASB)
but to those who are the called (klētos),
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay,
but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish
but all to come to repentance.
chosen – ἐκλεκτός eklektos, picked out, chosen (Strong)
The called & chosen
— they came,
discarded their old clothes,
and they put on the garments given by the king.
They honored the king in humility.
Right response, .. right relationship, … right garments on
This righteousness is given through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22
God’s righteousness is given,
each person has a right to personally choose to believe,
and receive God’s grace through faith.
Like in the parable, the individuals were free to choose to receive or reject God’s gift.
… whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life. John 3:16
believe in Jesus,
not any person, … or other gods.
What’s the character nature of the chosen?
What did they put on daily?
35 “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.
Luke 12:35 (NASB)
Colossians 3:12-17 (NASB)
12 So, as those who have been chosen (eklektos) of God,
holy and beloved,
put on a heart
of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone;
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
14 Beyond all these things put on love,
which is the perfect bond of unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 Whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
A heart that puts on:
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,
forgiveness. … and love,
the peace of God,
the word of Christ,
with thanksgiving gratitude
with word and deed lifestyle
in the character, nature of the Lord Jesus.
a heart change, transformation … from the inside out,
in word and deed.
Lives built upon the word of God,
a relationship with the Lord,
just outward expressions of devotion,
men’s words, rules, performance, etc.
Thus, Paul wrote:
Rather, clothe yourselves
with the Lord Jesus Christ,
do not think about how to gratify
the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:14 (NIV)
walking right with God, according to His word,
loving God, in fellowship with Him,
chosen of God, holy and beloved,
… to become conformed to the image of His Son .. Romans 8:29
Therefore, at the teaching in the temple, Jesus said,
Therefore I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be …
given to a people, producing the fruit of the kingdom of God. Matthew 21:43
Servant/Slave of the King
A quick word on the servant slaves, sent out by the king with the invitation call.
They faithfully went out, … again and again,
they gave the invitation call wherever the king sent them,
…. far and wide.
Some politely declined.
Some persecuted them.
While others received the message, and responded by coming to the king,
and, … still others, .. they came, … but half-heartedly.
Faithful servant slaves .. who resiliently, tirelessly completed the king’s order, … to the extent of some being martyred.
We seldom think about the servant slaves, … and rightly so,
they are just doing what they are expected to do.
Preach the word!
Be ready in season and out of season. … 2 Timothy 4:2
As we go, … & share the good news of Jesus
in the city, the highways and streets, … to both evil and good
as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast of the king’s son,
… there’ll be occasions that we’ll be amazed at who eagerly responds to God’s call.
Called, chosen, … is there anything else?
We’ll conclude with a look at some verses in the book of Revelation.
Walking right with God, having on the right garments is highlighted in Jesus words to two of the seven churches in Revelation,
Revelation 3:4,5, 17, 18, 20 (NASB)
Church in Sardis:
4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments;
and they will walk with Me in white,
for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; ….
Church in Laodicea:
17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy,
and have need of nothing,”
what the people in this church saw as their reality
— proud, self-confident, self-sufficient
… the arrogance of your heart
has deceived you … Jeremiah 49:16 (NASB)
and you do not know
that you are wretched and miserable
and poor and blind and naked,
in God’s eyes — the true reality
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire
so that you may become rich,
and white garments
so that you may clothe yourself,
and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed;
and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
true riches, …
received by grace, from the Lord.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and will dine with him,
and he with Me.
Christ’s invitation to all, anyone.
And, being together with Christ for those who respond,
if … opens the door …
In the final hours in Revelation, … in the great spiritual battle,
Revelation 17:14 (NASB)
These will wage war against the Lamb,
and the Lamb will overcome them,
He is Lord of lords and King of kings,
and those who are with Him are
the called and chosen and faithful.”
In the final hour, … those who are with Him
are the called and chosen
Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)
11And they overcame him (the accuser of our brethren)
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their lives to the death.
the called and chosen and faithful,
clothed in His righteousness & authority by the precious blood of Jesus,
were not afraid to testify, … and to die for their faith in Jesus.
Jesus gave his life & blood for all of us.
Furthermore, in the parable of the talents, … in the final appraisal,
His lord said to him,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)
A Biblical example is Moses, here’s God’s testimony of him:
… My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household …
Numbers 12:7 (NASB) & Hebrews 3:5
Faithful faithfulness makes a decisive difference,
no matter how few .. or how small .. the things we do.
Humbly following the direction of the Lord, … like Moses.
So, … in this parable, who are the called, chosen, faithful ?
— the unassuming, unsung servant slaves of the king.
serving their king in the background, … faithfully, quietly,
In the parable of the wedding banquet feast,
the servant slaves of the King faithfully went out again and again,
… facing all manner of people and dangers,
… sharing the King’s invitation call message.
and, some were martyred.
Yes, … the faithful are silently embedded in the parable 🙂
— bond-slaves of the Lord.
God’s amazing word! Praise God!
The ingenuity, simplicity and completeness of truth contained in Jesus’ parables! Praise God!
At the wedding feast of the Son,
… we’ll be pleasantly surprised, .. meeting these unassuming, unsung called, chosen, faithful servants of the Lord,
quietly, faithfully serving the Lord in the background,
unknowns serving the Lord far and wide, … bringing the King’s invitation call, … to both the evil and the good.
find us faithful
37 Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. …
43 That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded.
Luke 12:37, 43 (HCSB)
As the wedding feast draws near (end times),
…from the parable, what were the servant slaves busy with?
A final word on the called, chosen, faithful,
… from the closing verses of Revelation,
Revelation 22:10-15 (NASB)
10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book,
for the time is near.
11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong;
and the one who is filthy, still be filthy;
and let the one who is righteous,
and the one who is holy,
still keep himself holy.”
12 “Behold, I am coming quickly,
and My reward is with Me,
to render to every man
according to what he has done.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes,
so that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter the gates into the city.
are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
In conclusion, Jesus statement,
For many are called, but few are chosen.
is similar to His statement in the sermon on the mount,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the kingdom of heaven,
he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven
Matthew 7:21 (NASB)
For many are called, but few are chosen.
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
And let the one who hears say, “Come!”
Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
20 He who testifies to these things says,
“Yes, I am coming soon.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Revelation 22:17, 20 (NIV)
Maranatha – Jesus is coming again!
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
July 30, 2017
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2017 – All Rights Reserved
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