Many are Called, but Few are Chosen
How awful it would be to receive a summons to the wedding feast of a great king’s son, only to be singled out upon arrival for not being appropriately dressed. To have the attention of all upon you in such a situation would be embarrassing beyond measure. However, to then be seized as a trespasser, bound hand and foot, and cast out of this elect gathering would be devastating. It would truly be a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is a situation that we would all like to avoid. However, if I am correct, it will be the fate of a large portion of the church. The following passage gives us an indication of the fate that awaits many.
And Yahshua answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”‘ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ And 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. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The “king” in this passage clearly refers to God the Father. He is giving a wedding feast for “his son,” Yahshua the Messiah. He sends his servants out to announce the feast and to invite the guests to come. The servants are God’s prophets, and the guests, referred to here, represent Israel.
Israel, however, does not respond, so the king sends more servants out with a more explicit and emphatic message. Again, his servants are met with indifference. Many of those invited are caught up in their own pursuits and are aloof to the king and his invitation. Some are even more wicked and take the king’s messengers and abuse them and kill some.
The king is infuriated at this. In response He sends out his armies, destroys the murderers and sets their city on fire. The city is clearly referring to Jerusalem and her inhabitants.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”
The guests that have been twice invited are now deemed to be unworthy, so the king sends his servants out to the main highways to find guests to fill his wedding hall. This indicates that the gentiles throughout the whole world are now being invited.
The king’s servants bring in those both evil and good. Some have asserted that this refers to the lost and the saved. Many preachers and teachers of the word of God have difficulty describing any of God’s children as being wicked. God, however, reveals no such difficulty in calling a spade a spade. A look at the following parable will make it clear that there are both evil and good, worthy and unworthy in the household of God.
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
We see from this parable that there are servants in God’s house that are wicked or evil, as well as those who are faithful. These are both members of God’s house, the church. Likewise, those brought into the wedding feast are all from God’s house. Some, however, are not as worthy as others.
Returning to the wedding feast, we see that the wedding hall has been filled. It has been filled with members from the household of God. The king then comes in to look over the guests and finds one without a wedding garment. This saint does not have on a robe of worthiness.
“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.He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments.”
As indicated in the preceding scripture, the garment indicates worthiness. To not have one reveals that the person has been accounted to be not worthy. The king’s question to the unprepared guest could actually be expressed in this way, “How did you come to be here at the wedding feast of my son, seeing that you are unworthy to be here?” The guest is speechless. There is no defense for his lack of preparation. He is hastily removed from the wedding feast.
Surprisingly, at the end of Christ’s parable, we are told that what happened to this man is not a rare occurrence. To the contrary, we are told, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” It is the remnant that are chosen, that are accounted worthy to be at the wedding feast.
A further note that must be mentioned from this parable is that the unworthy guest was apparently unaware of his plight. His judgment came upon him quickly. He was deceived in thinking that he was appropriately arrayed, when he was not. It is a similar deception, a lack of awareness, and a state of slumber that is preventing the majority of Christians today from realizing that they are in the same peril.