Sexagesima Week – Sunday
Many are called, but few are chosen. — Matthew 22:14.
On Tuesday morning, in the temple, Jesus also spoke the following parable to the chief priests and elders who hated Him: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king who made a marriage feast for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again he sent forth other servants, saying: ‘Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come to the marriage.’ But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise; and the rest took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed these murderers, and burned their city.” This part of the parable plainly refers to the unbelieving Jews. The Lord continued: “Then saith he to his servants: ‘The wedding is ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.’ So the servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.” This refers to the remnant in Israel and to the converted heathen. “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a wedding-garment; and he saith unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants: ‘Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “
Here a man is portrayed who maintains outward affiliation with the Church of Christ, but does not, in true faith, lay hold on Christ’s merit. Finally the Lord said: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” God’s primary will is that all men be eternally saved; that all men hear and accept the Gospel invitation to believe in the redemptive work of His Son for the forgiveness of their sins and receive a place in His eternal kingdom of glory.
This universal call and invitation should encourage all of you who hear it, because it tells you that through this very call God wishes to work out your salvation, i.e. to enlighten, sanctify, and preserve you in His Communion of Saints. Few, however, are actually chosen to everlasting life because of their unbelief. Many who hear the Gospel invitation willfully despise it with hardened hearts and do not clothe themselves with the righteousness of Christ by faith for their salvation.
Looking back to our call, conversion, justification, and preservation in the true faith up to this point in time, we can be confident that we believers are among the elect of God, knowing that these things can only be accomplished by God Himself.
PRAYER. —Almighty and eternal God, who, from pure and undeserved mercy in Christ Jesus, dost offer righteousness and eternal life to us poor sinners, freely and without price, I beg Thy mercy graciously to keep me, that I may not despise nor forfeit Thy divine grace; and give to me Thy good Spirit, that I may lay hold on the same in true faith, and walk worthily of the same in true sanctification: through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, our Lord. Amen.
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress;
midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.
Hymn 371, 1 (TLH)