We read what Jesus says about the Good News of the Kingdom of God from a fresh perspective today in the Spirit. What does Jesus mean by the term ‘called’ and the term ‘chosen’? We often talk about being called. It is a privilege to be called by the Lord. In the case of the Great Feast, it appears that a special group was first destined and called but the members had been otherwise engaged and had not heeded the Lord’s calling. They carried on their usual farming and business activities because they could not ‘hear’ God. This is real. Jesus demonstrated this deafness of the people. He came to earth and lived among people. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of Heaven. But they went on doing their own thing like He never appeared to them. Some even became so annoyed with His message that they plotted to kill Him. They succeeded.
Another group of people was called too. Jesus described them as ‘everyone’ whom the servants of the Lord can see. Many came to the Great Feast. But some came without the proper dressing for he wedding. The King-Host noticed and singled them out to be evicted.
To sum up: Three groups are called. Those who are first invited but have chosen to ignore the invitation. Those who are ‘everyone’ but respond with honor and respect for the Lord and put on their proper ‘clothes’ (the robe of righteousness which is Jesus) for the wedding in heaven with Jesus, and those who also respond to the invitation but cannot really be bothered with God. They merely turn up for any festive occasion for a free meal and free entertainment.
Why is there a difference in the response? Two groups do not bother with God and thus miss out the Great Feast, indeed, the eternity with God. What is the secret for the third group, the few whom Jesus describes as the ‘chosen’? What has disqualified the ‘called’ but not ‘chosen’?
I believe the answer is given by Jesus Himself. Reading the context in Matthew 21 and 23 we find that Jesus was addressing those whom He described below: “You testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.” “…the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! ” (Matthew 23) “45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.” (Matthew 21)
What is the difference between these people and the few who are both called and chosen? The description of the Pharisees and the Sadducees revealed that they were walking by flesh and not by the Spirit. They tried all sorts of their usual, normal human social, economic, political and religious ways to find fault and perhaps trap Jesus. They could not accept Jesus because they did not know Him in the spirit.
Who can accept Jesus and His life message? Those who can accept the reality of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, God is Spirit. Jesus talked about the reality of God, the Heavenly places, the Kingdom of God, all of which can only manifest in the lives of the believers through the Holy Spirit. (Read the Gospel and letters of of John, Paul’s epistles, and the book of Acts).
When Jesus told the parable of the Great Feast in Matthew 22, He was surrounded and often accosted by the Pharisees and Sadducees.
15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him.
23 That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:
41 Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
Matthew 22 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Great Feast
Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”