Called and Chosen

September 11, 2021

For many are called, but few chosen (Matthew 20:16).

This text has caused a great deal of controversy in the Christian church and much consternation in the mind and heart of many Christians. The angst comes from taking the passage out of context and trying to fit our personal theology into it. This is called eisegesis - reading into the text what is not there. Students of Scripture pronounce anathema on such practice. We strive to be diligent to present ourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). To that end we practice exegesis - reading out of the text what is there.

Dare I say it again? That which governs this particular text is what governs the entire section of Jesus’ teaching, beginning with the rich young man in Matthew 19:16 - context, context, context. This final statement is not an ‘add on’, a ‘Oh, and by the way’ statement. It really is the haymaker in the last round of the boxing match. It is the coup de gras of the entire pericope.

The rich young man came to Jesus seeking eternal life. Jesus offered it to him by telling him to forsake everything and follow Him. The man refused and went away grieving - many are called, but few chosen. How so? Jesus could have been like a lot of churches today. He could have gone after the man saying, “Hey, man, I’m sorry that you find this whole matter of salvation a bit difficult, so here’s what we’ll do. You come on and be one of My disciples and over the course of time you’ll hopefully see what this is really all about. Then you will be better able to make a more informed decision about salvation. But even if you don’t you will still be piling up credits with God when your life here is over.”

Or He could have said, “Don’t sweat the details man. Just come on along with us and everything will be o.k. Get involved with us, do your part, and in the end, everything will turn out to your liking. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget your checkbook.”

Jesus did not go after the man and beg him to come back and be a disciple. Jesus didn’t sugar coat the Gospel. He didn’t down-play the nitty gritty details of discipleship. Jesus is your Lord and Savior, or He’s not your Savior at all. Many are called, but few are chosen. If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26-27). “Jesus does not here mean that one must hate his father or mother of necessity or as such, for Matthew 15:4 proves the opposite. It is only where the element of choice comes in (cf. Matthew 6:24) as it sometimes does, when father or mother opposes Christ. Then one must not hesitate” (A. T. Robertson).

“Lord Jesus, keep me honest and faithful to Your Word, that I would not accommodate it to the religious standards and philosophy of our culture. Your Word is truth. May I honor Your truth with everyone I encounter. To Your praise and glory I ask, Amen.”


Share this with your friends