What exactly does Jesus mean when the king hosting his son’s wedding banquet says, “Many are called, but few are chosen”?
I have struggled with this parable because the king’s violent tendency and angry actions significantly conflict with my understanding of God’s nature. The God I know reflects both patience and gentleness and does not choose to give love and grace to certain people over others. Therefore, I believe this parable conveys a picture of a merciful God who relentlessly pursues our presence and participation in the grand plan to love.
Whether we refuse or promptly respond to God’s invitation to discipleship, God does not love us any less or more. But God may call upon others who are willing and able to show love and care, while waiting for us to answer perhaps another call or a new opportunity for participation in kingdom life.
We do not passively wait for Yahweh to choose or invite us; instead, God patiently awaits our response to the invitation. Some commentators deem “the wedding robe” to represent a new way of life we accept or begin when we accept the invitation to discipleship. The difficulty comes in accepting but doing nothing. There is no authentic Christian faith without living a new life. Failure to do so will lead us ultimately to the pain of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What new life are you ready to live in order to further God’s kingdom on earth? What will you need to choose or avoid in order to fulfill this invitation to the wedding feast?
God, who knows and still loves, help us tenaciously seek, courageously sing, and clearly see your invitation to new life. Amen.
The narrative in Exodus 32:1-14 reflects on the blindness of the people, but the focus is also placed on Yahweh’s intense anger and on Moses’ intervention. Yahweh’s mercy prevails, and Moses is revealed as the quintessential mediator. Psalm 106 recalls the folly of the people in making the golden calf. The sinfulness of the Israelites is laid to their forgetfulness. The inability and unwillingness of the people of God to remember is a damning sin that calls for a tough response. The Philippians text stresses the need for faithfulness to the gospel. Matthew’s version of the parable of the wedding banquet offers a negative example of faithfulness in the form of a guest who comes to the wedding without the proper attire.
• Read Exodus 32:1-14. How do you demonstrate allegiance to or dependence on God’s faithfulness in your life? What “golden calf” diverts your attention?
• Read Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23. Re ect on those times when you recalled the past, lamented, and cried for mercy.
• Read Philippians 4:1-9. Con ict creates discord. How do you handle con ict in your spiritual journey? in your church?
• Read Matthew 22:1-14. God continually invites us to divine encounters—with God directly and with others. How seriously do you take God’s invitations?
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