October 15, 2013

Thoughts from Mark

For many are called, but few are chosen.  – Jesus

Jesus is describing the kingdom of heaven when he uses the picture of a great wedding feast that a king prepared for his son.  Those who were originally invited wouldn’t come when it was time to celebrate.  So, the king sends out his slaves to invite anyone who will come to enjoy the feast.

He ends his parable with a specific situation of one who did not wear wedding clothes being removed from the banquet.  Then, his last words are the famous ones quoted above.

Many read many are called, but few are chosen and connect it to the man cast out.  The reality is that this statement refers to what the entire parable is about – the kingdom of heaven.

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.  (Matt 22:10)

It is a biblical truth that the kingdom will have ALL kinds of people in it.  This Father is not an exclusionary father.  He is gracious, He is magnanimous, He is good.  His kindness leads men to repentance.

Many are called refers to this about our Father.  When the Jews rejected Jesus, it opened the door for the rest of mankind to enter.  His plan was through the Jews, but He would not be restrained from His true purpose – having His whole family home.

Some who read this story, especially a Jew, would correlate the chosen to the Jews.  In the current hour Jesus is speaking, that would make sense.  But Jesus knew a new season was initiated in Him.  One in which a new “Israel” was being birthed.

Who’s left out of this story is the bride.  Most readers have identified themselves as the dinner guests in Jesus’ parable.  Yet the New Testament is full of the marriage picture describing the relationship between Christ and His church.  She is the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).

Few are chosen refers to her.  This is not exclusion but an honoring, a revealing.  The parable is about the kingdom of heaven.  At the center of this kingdom is the marriage of Jesus and a people who are fully devoted to Him, like a bride to her husband.

The many and the called is seen throughout scripture.  Noah, Abraham and Moses were chosen.  Their mission?  Call the many.  Saul had the opportunity but proved he was simply called when the chosen one, David, was revealed.  As the story moves forward in the Old Testament, there was always a remnant (chosen) who stayed true among those (called) who would turn their hearts away from the Lord.

In the NT, there is Mary (chosen) and Martha (called).  The one who buried his talent (called) and the one who made five more (chosen).  The five virgins who had their lamps filled (chosen) and those who didn’t (called).

There are those, when presented with the opportunity, will lay full hold of the opportunity.  This response to the opportunity reveals who they are.  These are the ones chosen as part of the bride.

When presented with Jesus, some go all in.  They sell all, no matter the cost, to be fully with the King.  There are also those who believe in who He is, yet have a life to live.  They understand who Jesus is, bolt Him onto their life, and then continue their life with some new added features.

To the called, Jesus is someone to honor, believe in and thank.  To the chosen, He is a life-wrecker.  He revolutionizes everything about who they are and now their life is entirely about Him.

Can anyone blame Jesus for not wanting just anyone in His marriage bed?  What husband wants a part-time wife who believes in who he is but has other lovers and many other things to do?

Jesus chooses His bride from among all the called.  Those who have fully given their heart and their life to Him have the privilege of matrimony.  And because of His Father’s amazing graciousness, the rest are still welcomed into the celebration of this union.

When a specific task needs to be done, people are assigned (chosen) based upon their skill and gifting.  When choosing a bride, you choose among the faithful, the devoted, the in love.

Who gets the raise or promotion at work?  More often than not, its the one who is all in.  Who gets the scholarship?  The one who went above and beyond.  The people who call these things unfair are the called.  The ones who understand this principle prove themselves the chosen among the called.

To the called, this may seem biased, especially as it relates to the Lord.  The Lord, of all “people”, should be fair and treat everyone the same.  And He has done just that.  The equity is in that everyone gets to answer the same question – What will you do with Jesus?

To the chosen, its about the person of the Lord, not what’s fair.  The chosen have only one passion – Jesus – and that’s why they’re chosen.  Everything else pales in comparison to Him.  He is not an add-on.  To the chosen, He is the center, the source, their beginning and their end.

The kingdom is about a Father and His Son.  Within this Son is a bride who is completely in love with Him.  Then, this kingdom is populated by a privileged group of people who get to enjoy the benefits of this union.  It is ALL good in the kingdom.  Being one with the Son is better.  MUCH better.

You are called into this kingdom.  Who you are in it is completely up to you.

In love,