Aloha Friday Message – October 9, 2020 – The Few and the Many

2041AFC100920 – The Few and the Many

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    Matthew 22:14 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Matthew 20:16 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen. World English Bible (WEB)  by Public Domain.

Matthew 20:28 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Today I ask you to look at The Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast. In this parable, Jesus tells about a King who prepared an elaborate wedding banquet. Many guests were invited. I described this a few years ago in “1343AFC102513 – Accountability?”, and I’m going to put just a few lines of that post here:

In the Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14, the King’s invited guests snubbed him, so he ordered his servants to bring in strangers, stragglers, and seat them for the banquet. Then there is a strange incident of a man who did not wear a wedding garment. How could he? He was drafted as an impromptu guest. Yet the other impromptu guests were prepared. What does this mean? How does one prepare for the Wedding Banquet of our King? What is our “wedding garment?” First of all, it is our repentance. The man had not changed his apparel before entering the feast and for that he was kicked out. He was called but not chosen because he dishonored the call. He had not changed before entering the feast; the unrepentant also have not changed and are not prepared for the Wedding Banquet in Heaven. There’s no excuse for being unprepared because Christ the King has given us everything we need to enter in. This was a longstanding tradition for the Jews. Weddings went on for days, included much feasting and dancing, many gifts (including little crowns), and a wedding garment.

The family giving the wedding gave all the guests a special garment to wear at the wedding feast. One guy in this parable showed up without the freely-given garment; this was a terrible insult, worse even than those who were the first invited and then later refused to come to the wedding at all. The point of the lesson is that God give us everything we need, every “good and perfect gift,” to make it easier to answer his call. Many are called; not all accept. Who are “the many” who are called?

In our Key Verse section we see “many are called but few are chosen,” and “… to give his life a ransom for many.” This is another of those passages we often gloss over and don’t ponder its meaning. Now, for many, many years I figured Jesus Christ died for everyone and that all the world would be saved. That was kinda dumb, because it is not scriptural. I had placed my logic – faulty as it was – in The Most Famous Bible Passage. You know it by heart probably, or at least part of it. It looks like this:

John 3:13-19 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

In my own “economy of the Scripture,” I thought, “Well, the whole World could be saved, but in actuality only those who believe will be saved.” Not everyone who hears the Word – and the Word is God’s call to repentance and salvation – will answer that call or respond to the Word by believing it. Those people will not be on the right side of eternity. But, why does Jesus keep saying “many?” Here’s another example, and a little better look at what “many” means:

Matthew 26:27-28 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many* for the forgiveness of sins.

* πολλῶν (pollon) from πολύς (polus) {pol-oos’} – signifies ‘many, numerous’; with the article it is said of a multitude as being numerous or abundant, plenteous; many, a large part of mankind. This is similar to the Hebrew word רַב (rab) {rab} – much, abundant, abounding, great or great in numbers. “Ah-HA,” he chortled with joy, “there it is!” There will be Salvation for all who believe, and there will be many who are saved. That is such GREAT news! Well, except for one thing. Those MANY, that multitude, that abundance of people is the group chosen, and they are described as “few.” Ooopsie. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” In the Good News Translation (GNT) for Matthew 22:14, it says “Many are invited but few are chosen.” If the chosen are a multitude, and “the last will be first, and the first last,” then what does that mean about the size of the group not chosen, not responding to the Word, not wearing the Wedding Garment for the King’s Banquet? If the many are the few, then all the rest must be … myriads? In Revelation 5:11 we read of “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands” surrounding God’s Throne, the Four Living Creatures and the Elders. That expression is used to describe what cannot be numbered as in “billions upon billions,” or “gazillions and gazillions,” or a “googolplex with a googolplex.” (A googolplex is 1010 to the power of a googol. In other words, that’s 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 100. You could never write that down because it would take more time than the universe has existed and more paper than the universe could hold to write it down.) The multitude of believers is humongous, but compared to the group of nonbelievers, the believers are “The Few.” We could think of it like a math expression:

Many – Few = Myriads

The Many minus The Few = Myriads and Myriads

Well, that’s surprising. Or is it? In our society – the whole society of the World – we have a pretty lax view of what’s Good and what’s Evil. There’s a soft, wide, gray area between those opposites. Everything in Scripture tells us God doesn’t see it that way. From the moment Abram was chosen by El Shaddai-Olam to be the Patriarch of God’s Chosen People right up to the very second you are reading this sentence, myriads of souls have turned away from God. God chose Israel to be a light to the nations, a clear example of the power, the goodness, and the means by which God’s salvation will reach to the ends of the earth. (See Isaiah 49:1-6). The population of the Nation of Israel was few compared to the population of the many nations outside of Israel. It was and is the mission of Israel to demonstrate God’s lovingkindness – his Mercy and Grace – and to be the agent of God’s plan for Salvation – the Advent of God’s Messiah. What does this mean for “we few” who follow Christ?

We are called (invited? Yea, commanded) to carry on the mission of Israel. We must be the light that drives away the darkness and draws all to God’s Perfect Integrity, Endless Mercy and Eternal Salvation through Christ Our Lord. We are called to witness, to testify, to be Μάρτυς (martus) {mar’-toos}  meaning a witness; an eye- or ear-witness; one who testifies. You may recognize it as the root of the English word martyr. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to … .” To do what? To carry The Light to the Nations is just one thing – and there are few who take up that mission. Those who do so find they are carrying a cross of their own making to a death of their own choosing. The question before us, then, is “Will that death lead to eternal Life or eternal Death?” Can we be “the few, the humble, the faithful?” Are we ready, willing, and able to be Priest, Prophet, and King “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”? (See 1 Peter 2:9) We are the few, and we can be the chosen if we testify. What comes of that Nation who lives for and serves God? Look what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 11:2-6 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

We, the few, are called through Grace upon Grace (← Check it out!). That is enough. Let’s put on our gift of his Wedding Garment and head for the Banquet Hall. We Are Called. (↔ Music Link) Our best response is “Hear I Am, Lord.” (↔ Music Link) And meanwhile, let us also go out to the byways, alleys, and streets and bring in the many who are called but refused to answer. Who knows how many – or how few – of them will also accept a wedding garment? You are 100% correct! God knows, and he’s counting on us to make it happen.

READ THIS: Isaiah 59:10-15!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —
at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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