FEW ARE CHOSEN
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
While praying about the translation of Matt. 22:14, a different understanding of this verse came to me. Here is the context:
1. And further, giving decided response, Jesus again spoke in illustrations (parables) to them, continuing in laying it out by saying,
2. “The reign of the heavens (or: The heavens’ kingdom) is compared to and considered like a human, a king, who made arrangements and prepared wedding festivities (things associated with a feast or banquet) for his son.
3. “And then he sent off his slaves with the mission to call the folks having been invited unto the marriage festivities – and yet, they continued unwilling (kept on, one after another, not intending or desiring to come (= to attend).
4. “So again he sent off other slaves, now saying, ‘Tell the folks having been invited, “Consider, please! I have made my meal ready (or: finished the preparations for my dinner) – my bulls and grain-fattened animals having been slaughtered, and everything [is] set and ready! Come unto the wedding festivities.”‘
5. “But they, being unconcerned, lacking interest and not caring about it, went away – one, indeed, into his own field, yet another upon his commercial business (or: his trade),
6. “and the rest [of them], forcibly taking hold of his slaves, insolently violated their human rights and then killed [them].
7. “So the king inwardly swelled with fury and was made to teem with anger. And then, sending his soldiers (troops), he destroyed those murderers and set their city in flames.
8. “Thereupon, he is saying to his slaves, ‘The wedding feast indeed continues being ready, yet those having been invited were not worthy folks (folks of corresponding value).
9. “‘Therefore, be progressively journeying on your way – on the thoroughfares, both the main roads exiting the city as well as the side roads passing through, and the intersections – and call as many people as you might happen to find unto the wedding festivities (or: marriage feast).’
10. “And so, upon going out into the streets and alleys, the paths and roads, those slaves gathered and led together all whom they found – both worthless (or: wicked; bad; of poor character) folks and good (virtuous) ones – and so the wedding hall was filled with folks presently reclining [at the tables].
11. “Now the king, upon entering to view and watch those engaged in reclining [at the tables], he noticed a person there who had not put on wedding apparel (= not dressed appropriate for a wedding feast),
12. “And so he then says to him, ‘My good sir (or: Friend; Comrade; Dear fellow), how are you entered here having no wedding apparel (= how is it that you came into this place without dressing appropriately for a marriage feast)?’ But the man was muzzled (= silent, speechless).
13. “At that point, the king said to the servants, ‘Upon binding his feet and hands, you men throw him out into the darkness which is farther outside. In that place there will continue being the weeping (or: lamenting) and the grinding of the teeth.’
14. “Now you see, many folks continue existing being called and invited ones, yet a few people [are also] chosen ones (selected and picked out folks)!”
OK, in this parable, who are the many, and which the few, and what is the choosing for?
Here, the one — of the many who filled the wedding hall — who was selected out (chosen) was the one who did not properly prepare to come to the wedding festivities (figure of the kingdom). He represented the “few” — and he was thrown out! He was a comrade (an associate, one of the people of the kingdom) who displayed contempt for the presence and celebration of the kingdom.
I see him as representing the Pharisees and leadership of the Jews. They thought that they were the chosen people. But Jesus is here pointing out that they are actually chosen to be thrown out, into the darkness of the nations who were at that time still outside the joys and benefits of the kingdom, where there yet continues the weeping and the grinding of teeth. So Jesus was here throwing the concept of being the “few who are the chosen people” in their faces. All the more reason for their actions in vs. 15 – seeking to trap Him.
Thus, here, at least, I don’t see Jesus as saying that the “few that are chosen” are the ones that make it into the kingdom. Rather, it is the rag-tag multitudes — good and bad — that make it in on the first round, while those who think they “have it made” have hard times awaiting them.
Those who view themselves as the “chosen few” are chosen for His hard dealings for a time of correction.
Things are not always as they seem to be.
FEW ARE CHOSEN [Jonathan Mitchell] 1