Matthew 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
This is a famous saying of Jesus, but generally quoted out of context. The deciding point in whether someone was chosen was very simply their acceptance of the invitation. It specifically says in verse 10 that “both good and bad” people came to the banquet. One detail that confuses a lot of people is the person who failed to wear appropriate clothing, who was treated much like those who had refused to come in the first place. (verses11-13) All of this becomes much more clear in the light of the rest of the New Testament. We are told of “the wedding supper of the Lamb,” (Revelation 19:9) and how God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)That agrees with this parable perfectly, but what about the wedding clothes? That is clarified by, “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) And how do we clothe ourselves with Christ? By repentance and faith. It is very dangerous to be in the Church without repentance! Hell isn’t reserved for those who openly reject God, it is also for those who act like they’re Christians without letting God change their hearts. It doesn’t matter what we once were; what matters is whether we repent and believe the Good News. (Mark 1:15) So many people hang up on one side of that or the other! Either they think they aren’t worthy of the invitation, (spoiler alert: nobody is) or they think they can get by without letting God change their heart. Those who reject repentance accuse God of being discriminatory, when His invitation is open to absolutely everyone who will repent and believe.
This is of course my message, as I seek to communicate the Gospel in Japan. I have said for 40 years that I didn’t come to Omura to teach a religion, I came to introduce a Savior. (In Japanese that’s almost a pun.) There have been many barriers, not least of which is that Buddhism doesn’t teach salvation at all. I’ve had three different Buddhist priests, at different times and in different places, acknowledge that fact frankly. The ultimate in Buddhism is nothingness! No wonder the Japanese rate of suicide is so high! People haven’t been given the mental framework to think about God’s offer of salvation through the cross of Christ, so it seems like a very foreign religion indeed. However, Paul and the others in the 1st Century faced the same sort of barriers, so I have no reason to lose hope. I am to keep inviting people to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and at the same time make the dress code clear. The nice thing is, our wedding finery is already paid for! I just need to help people understand what it is, and accept it.
Father, thank You for this beautiful parable, and for explaining it through me this way. Help me be more and more effective in gathering Your guests, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!