From Wedding to Warfare: Burning Cities & Entering Highways

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twenty-second chapter of this New Testament book. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO A CERTAIN KING WHICH MADE A MARRIAGE FOR HIS SON! SENT FORTH SERVANTS TO CALL THEM THAT WERE BIDDEN TO THE WEDDING! THEY WOULD NOT COME! THE SENDING OF MORE SERVANTS! THE SENDING OF OTHER SERVANTS! TELL THEM WHICH ARE BIDDEN, BEHOLD, I HAVE PREPARED MY DINNER: MY OXEN AND MY FATLINGS ARE KILLED, AND ALL THINGS ARE READY: COME UNTO THE MARRIAGE! THEY MADE ILGHT OF IT, AND WENT THEIR WAYS, ONE TO HIS FARM, ANOTHER TO HIS MERCHANDISE! THE REMNANT TOOK HIS SERVANTS, AND ENTREATED THEM SPITEFULLY, AND SLEW THEM! WHEN THE KING HEARD THEREOF, HE WAS WROTH: AND HE SENT FORTH HIS ARMIES, AND DESTROYED THOSE MURDERERS, AND BURNED UP THEIR CITY! THE WEDDING IS READY, BY THEY WHICH WERE BIDDEN WERE NOT WORTHY! GO YE THEREFORE INTO THE HIGHWAYS, AND AS MANY AS YE SHALL FIND, BID TO THE MARRIAGE! SO THOSE SERVANTS WENT OUT INTO THE HIGHWAYS, AND GATHERED TOGETHER ALL AS MANY AS THEY FOUND, BOTH BAD AND GOOD! THE WEDDING WAS FURNISHED WITH GUESTS! AND WHEN THE KING CAME IN TO SEE THE GUESTS, HE SAW THERE A MAN WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT! FRIEND, HOW CAMEST THOU IN HITHER NOT HAVING 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! FOR MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN!

            MATTHEW 20:1-16! SO THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST, AND THE FIRST LAST! FOR MANY BE CALLED, BUT FEW CHOSEN!

            THEN WENT THE PHARISEES, AND TOOK COUNSEL HOW THEY MIGHT ENTANGLE HIM IN HIS TALK! THEY SENT OUT UNTO HIM THEIR DISCIPLES WITH THE HERODIANS, SAYING, MASTER WE KNOW THAT THOU ART TRUE, AND TEACHEST THE WAY OF GOD IN TRUTH, NEITHER CAREST THOU FOR ANY MAN: FOR THOU REGARDEST NOT THE PERSON OF MEN! TELL US THEREFORE, WHAT THINKEST THOU? IS IT LAWFUL TO GIVE TRIBUTE UNTO CAESAR, OR NOT? BUT JESUS PERCEIVED THEIR WICKEDNESS, AND SAID, WHY TEMPT YE ME, YE HYPOCRITES? SHEW ME THE TRIBUTE MONEY. AND THEY BROUGHT UNTO HIM A PENNY! AND HE SAITH UNTO THEM, WHOSE IS THIS IMAGE AND SUPERSCRIPTION? THEY SAY UNTO HIM, CAESAR’S. THEN SAITH HE UNTO THEM, RENDER THEREFORE UNTO CAESAR THE THINGS WHICH ARE CAESAR’S; AND UNTO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD’S! WHEN THEY HAD HEARD THESE WORDS, THEY MARVELLED, AND LEFT HIM, AND WENT THEIR WAY!

            THE SAME DAY CAME TO HIM THE SADDUCEES, WHICH SAY THAT THERE IS NO RESURRECTION, AND ASKED HIM, SAYING, MASTER, MOSES SAID, IF A MAN DIE, HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP SEED UNTO HIS BROTHER! JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, YE DO ERR, NOT KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES, NOR THE POWER OF GOD! FOR IN THE RESURRECTION THEY NEITHER MARRY, NOR ARE GIVEN IN MARRIAGE, BUT ARE AS THE ANGELS OF GOD IN HEAVEN! BUT AS TOUCHING THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, HAVE YE NOT READ THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN UNTO YOU BY GOD, SAYING, I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB? GOD IS NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING!

            WHEN THE PAHRISEES HEARD THAT HE HAD PUTG THE SADDUCEES TO SILENCE, THEY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER! THEN ONE OF THEM, WHICH WAS A LAWYER, ASKED HIM A QUESTION, TEMPTING HIM, AND SAYING, MASTER, WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW? JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND! THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT! AND THE SECOND IS LIKE UNTO IT, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUT AS THYSELF! ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS!

            WHILE THE PHARISEES WERE GATHERED TOGETHER, JESUS ASKED THEM, SAYING, WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST? WHOSE SON IS HE? THEY SAY UNTO HIM, THE SON OF DAVID! HE SAITH UNTO THEM, HOW THEN DOTH DAVID IN SPIRIT CALL HIM LORD, SAYING, THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE THING ENEMIES THY FOOTSTOOL? IF DAVID THEN CALL HIM LORD, HOW IS HE HIS SON? AND NO MAN WAS ABLE TO ANSWER HIM A WORD, NEITHER DURST ANY MAN FROM THAT DAY FORTH ASK HIM ANY MORE QUESTIONS!

            THEN WENT THE PHARISEES, AND TOOK COUNSEL HOW THEY MIGHT ENTANGLE HIM IN HIS TALK!THE SAME DAY CAME TO HIM THE SADDUCEES! BUT WHEN THE PHARISEES HAD HEARD THAT HE HAD PUT THE SADDUCEES TO SILENCE, THEY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER! THEN ONE OF THEM, WHICH WAS A LAWYER, ASKED HIM A QUESTION, TEMPTING HIM! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Jesus once more delivering a parable unto the multitudes which gathered themselves unto and before Him. Beginning with the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we find Jesus beginning to shift and transition in how He taught the multitudes, for although He would speak of and speak concerning the kingdom of heaven, He would teach and speak in parables. Oh it is true that Jesus would indeed speak concerning the kingdom of heaven, and it is true that Jesus would indeed teach the people truths and mysteries concerning the kingdom, however, we must needs realize and understand that Jesus would speak of the kingdom of heaven using parables to display those truths. What makes this all the more interesting is when you think about and consider how the parables began with one parable which served as the key to unlocking and understanding them all—namely, the parable of the seed, the sower, and the four different types of soil. The first parable we find Jesus speaking unto the multitudes and crowds which gathered themselves before Him was that parable which described a certain man going out into his field, and as he went he would sow seed along the way. That seed which he would seed—seed which would be the same regardless of where it was sown—would be sown in four different and four distinct places within the field into which the farmer went. There would of course be the seed which fell by the way side, there would be the seed which fell onto stony ground, there was the seed that fell among thorns, and there was the seed which was sown into good soil. This one who would sow the seed would go throughout the field and would go throughout the path and throughout the way sowing seed as they went, however that seed would find its lodging in different types of soil.

            As you continue reading within this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus explaining the parable unto the disciples who came to Him privately asking what the parable actually meant. In response to the question which the disciples asked Jesus would expound upon and explain the parable and what the meaning of it actually was. The seed which was sown along the wayside represented those individuals who heard the word of the kingdom as it was sown unto them in their hearing, and yet upon hearing the word of the kingdom they would not understand that which was spoken unto them. As a direct result of their lack of understanding the word of the kingdom the enemy would come and snatch away that which was sown unto and among them. The seed which fell upon the stony ground represented those individuals who heard the word of the kingdom and received it with joy. Despite, however, the fact that these individuals heard the word and received it with joy—when persecution would arise for the sake of the word they would become offended. Jesus doesn’t specifically state and declare that such individuals would turn and walk no more with Jesus, however, the four gospel narratives seem to indicate that those who were offended by the word of the kingdom and/or those who were offended with and by Jesus Himself would turn themselves back and walk no more with Jesus. This parable and its interpretation doesn’t directly state and imply this, however, the gospels are replete with examples of those who would hear the word of the kingdom and who would be offended as a direct result of persecution that would rise up because of the word. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular point, for this point calls and draws our attention that what we can and will most likely experience in the coming days—particularly and especially within this nation in the coming days when and as persecution begins to rise up in the midst of our country for the sake of the word of the kingdom. There is not a doubt in my mind that there will indeed be a great number of men and women who can and who will be offended as a direct result of persecution which arose for the sake of the word of the kingdom, and they will turn themselves back and walk no more with the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Continuing on in Jesus’ interpretation of this parable we find Him declaring how the seed which was sown among the thorns represented those who heard the word of the kingdom, and those who received the word of the kingdom, and yet the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world choked the life of the word out of their hearts. Jesus made it perfectly clear that there would be those who would hear the word concerning the kingdom, and those who would even receive the word of the kingdom, and yet those individuals would have the word choked out of them as a direct result of the cares of this world—perhaps what they would eat, what they would drink, what they would wear—and as a direct result of the deceitfulness of riches. It would be the apostle Paul who would emphatically declare that the love of money is the root of all evil, and it would be Jesus who would not only declare that we cannot serve both God and mammon, but it was also Jesus who instructed us to lay not up for ourselves treasures here upon the earth where thieves break in and steal and where mold and rust destroy. For those individuals who represented the seed being sown among the thorns—the word of the kingdom would indeed be heard and received by them, and yet the word of the kingdom would be choked out because of the deceitfulness of riches, and because of the cares of this world. Thus far within the interpretation of the parable we have seen how a lack of understanding the word concerning the kingdom opens the door for the enemy and adversary to steal the word of the kingdom, we have seen how men and women who have no substance, no depth, and no root within themselves for the word concerning the kingdom will become offended when persecution rises up because of the word of the kingdom, and we have seen how the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of the world can and will choke the life of the word of the kingdom out of the hearts of others. This is absolutely incredible and necessary to think about and consider, for it calls and draws our attention to a final group of people who would be those who would hear the word of the kingdom, would receive it with joy, and would understand it. As a direct result of their hearing, their receiving and their understanding the word of the kingdom these individuals would produce and bring forth fruit—some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and some an hundred fold. There would be those who would hear and receive the word of the kingdom, and that word of the kingdom would indeed and would in fact produce and bring forth much fruit within their hearts and lives in this life.

            What makes the parables which Jesus would speak concerning the parables so incredibly unique and astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that eventually the parables would shift and transition into a place that would be entirely and altogether different from what they were before. In the thirteenth chapter of this gospel narrative we find Jesus describing the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a variety of different things, however, as you continue moving on and progressing within this gospel you will find Jesus describing the kingdom of heaven in terms of the earth—and not only the earth, but also the manifestation of the kingdom in the midst of the earth. Eventually we find Jesus shifting His teaching concerning the kingdom by describing one who would go on a long journey and who would leave the kingdom in the hands of those who would be responsible for the kingdom. As you continue moving on within the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus beginning to describe the kingdom of heaven in terms of a responsibility that was placed upon the shoulders of the servants of the kingdom—those whom the Master of the kingdom would entrust with the work of the kingdom. Even the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the master of the vineyard and field who went out at different times during the day to hire those who would work in his vineyard speaks of and confirms the tremendous responsibility that would be found in the hearts and lives of the servant of the kingdom—those who would be called, those who would be chosen, and those who would be invited to come and work in the vineyard. It’s important for us to realize and recognize that within the parables Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven, He would liken the kingdom unto a field, unto a vineyard, and unto a harvest. By likening and comparing the kingdom of heaven to such realities Jesus would indeed and would in fact describe the kingdom of heaven as being that into which men and women would be called to labor, and that which men and women would be called in to work and give of themselves to be a part of.

            If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand concerning the kingdom of heaven, it’s that the kingdom of heaven is not this abstract reality that describes something that is found within heaven alone, and something which cannot and will not be experienced hear upon the earth. When Jesus teaches and speaks concerning the kingdom of heaven we find Him describing it in such terms and in such ways that reveals a great invitation that is given unto men to enter into the work and the labor of the kingdom. It would be in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus would speak of the meek inheriting the earth while also declaring that the poor in spirit and those who were persecuted for righteousness’ sake would receive the kingdom of heaven. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that the kingdom of heaven can indeed be summarized as the work of God and the work of the Father within and upon the earth—a work that would indeed require laborers who would give themselves unto the work. Even in the ninth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we discover how Jesus looked upon the crowds and the multitudes and how He was moved with compassion on them because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd which were scattered within and upon the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that when reading the gospel narratives you will find Jesus looking up and viewing the earth as a harvest which was indeed and was in fact whitened for the picking, and required laborers who would enter into the harvest and indeed reap that which was sown. We must needs realize and understand this particular truth, for when thinking about the kingdom of heaven we have to understand that it is that which the servants of the kingdom can and will enter as laborers and as stewards who will be faithful to and faithful in the work that was before them. The kingdom of heaven is intrinsically linked and connected to the earth, and would indeed be the manifestation of the kingdom of God which is found in heaven above, as well as the will of God being manifested in the earth as it is in heaven.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this truly awesome and powerful reality, and I find myself being directly confronted with the fact that as Jesus would begin shifting His teaching and His words unto the crowds and multitudes as the time for His departure grew nearer and closer, He would in fact begin using the parables to describe the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth, and the tremendous work and labor that would surround it. What we have been seeing over the past couple of chapters within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew are powerful words which describe the kingdom of heaven as being that which men and women would not only enter into, but also that which men and women would be invited into as laborers and as stewards. By likening the kingdom of heaven in such a manner Jesus would prepare His disciples and His followers for the awesome reality that the kingdom of heaven is indeed about labor and about working. Oh there is and there has been the tendency to view the kingdom of heaven in terms of something that is solely about enjoyment, and about blessing, and about prosperity, and is about rest, and the like. There have been those who have taught concerning the kingdom of heaven and have spoken of the kingdom as that which we enter into and simply enjoy the presence of the living God, and enjoy the benefits and the blessings of the kingdom. What makes this all the more interesting is when you think about and consider how not only did Jesus declare that those who were persecuted for righteousness’ sake would receive the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus would also declare that the poor in spirit would receive the kingdom of heaven. Not only this, but Jesus would make it perfectly and abundantly clear that the kingdom of heaven would be that which men and women would enter into as laborers—those who were likened unto laborers who worked in a vineyard, those who were likened as laborers in a field, and those who were likened unto laborers in a harvest. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly awesome and wonderful reality, for this reality calls and forces us to acknowledge that the kingdom of heaven is indeed a powerful invitation to participate in the work which Jesus Himself had begun and engaged in during those three and a half years He moved and walked upon the face of the earth.

            The ultimate and underlying question I can’t help but ask myself, as well as you who are reading these words is whether or not we truly realize and recognize that the kingdom of heaven is indeed that which requires labor and that which requires work. I find myself asking the question of whether or not I realize that the kingdom of heaven is indeed about the earth being likened unto a field and unto a harvest which we as the saints of God and disciples of Christ have been and are being called into that we might labor in the work which was begun with Jesus Christ. Perhaps one of the most powerful truths found within the gospels is that although Jesus would indeed be that one who would initially set up and establish the kingdom of heaven within the earth, there would be glimpses of the work of the kingdom being left in the hands of His disciples and His followers. In the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus calling the twelve apostles unto Himself and sending them out in twos to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven, to cast out unclean spirits, to heal the sick, and to raise the dead to life. In the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we find Jesus calling seventy others unto Himself and sending them out in twos to preach the kingdom of heaven, and to engage themselves in a similar ministry as that which the disciples themselves would enter into. What makes this all the more powerful and captivating when you think about it is when you consider that even though Jesus would depart from this world and return unto the Father—not only would He entrust the kingdom of heaven into the hands of His disciples and followers, but He would also send and give the Holy Spirit to assist them in the work. ENTRUSTED WITH THE KINGDOM AND GIVEN THE HOLY SPIRIT!

            I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that as we drew closer to the time of Jesus’ departure, and as we grew closer to the time when Jesus would leave this earth and return unto His Father which was in heaven we find the parables He taught and the parables He spoke shifting in their nature and shifting in their scope as Jesus would now use the parables to describe the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a field, likened unto a vineyard, and likened unto a harvest. Essentially the kingdom of heaven was a tremendous work that was to be accomplished and fulfilled in the midst of the earth, and one which was to be carried out and completed by the disciples and followers of Jesus throughout the generations and throughout the years. Oh how truly unique it is to think about and consider the fact that the work of the kingdom would not be completed when Jesus departed from this earth and ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. IT is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in the gospel narratives written by the gospel authors that although Jesus would indeed and would in fact begin the work of the kingdom of heaven during those three and a half years He would move upon the earth, He would not only leave the work of the kingdom in the hands of His apostles and the early church, but He would also leave the work open ended and unfinished. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that what Jesus began and what Jesus started during those three and a half years He walked upon the face of the earth He would leave in the hands of His apostles—and not only His apostles, but also those within the early Church which would be brought forth from the womb of the upper room on the day of Pentecost. The entire New Testament book of Acts is a powerful treatise concerning the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in Judaea and Jerusalem, however, the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven would transition beyond Jerusalem and Judaea and would indeed extend into Samaria, and ultimately unto and among the Gentiles. Eventually Phillip, the apostle Peter, Silas, Barnabas, and the apostle Paul would be those who labor among the Gentiles. This would be in addition to Timothy whom the apostle Paul would call unto himself, as well as the apostle John who would labor among the saints which were at Ephesus.

            It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the four gospels, as well as the New Testament book of Acts that the kingdom of heaven was left in the hands of the apostles and the early Church, and it was entrusted unto them that they might carry out and continue the work. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely necessary this is for our understanding of the kingdom of heaven, for eventually Jesus would begin describing the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto one who would depart and leave to go on a long journey. That one who would depart and would go on a long journey would entrust his resources, his wealth, and that which belonged to him into the hands of his servants that they might be faithful and wise stewards in his absence. This is necessary for us to realize and understand, for eventually Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven would shift and transition to the place where He would teach the disciples and His followers that the kingdom of heaven would indeed touch His departure from this world and His ultimate ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. Not only this, but by, because and through His departure from this earth unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven Jesus would entrust His resources and that which belonged to Him in the hands of His disciples and followers. Jesus knew that His time upon the earth would draw to a close, and Jesus knew that the time was drawing near for Him to suffer, and to be killed, and to be buried in the tomb, and to be raised on the third day before ascending unto the right hand of the Father. As a direct result of this, Jesus would make ready and prepare His disciples for the truth concerning the kingdom of heaven, and how the kingdom of heaven would indeed be a wonderful and powerful invitation given unto them to enter into and carry out the work which He himself would begin and initiate within the earth.

            The more I think about and the more I consider this reality, the more I can’t help but realize and understand that the kingdom of heaven is so much greater than simply that which men have oftentimes thought of and considered as being solely found within the realm of eternity and in heaven above. Oh dear reader—do you truly understand do you truly realize how massive the kingdom of heaven truly is? Do you truly understand the awesome and powerful truth that the kingdom of heaven does indeed and does in fact extend beyond simply heaven above, and how it extends unto and within the earth? It is something worth thinking about and considering how the kingdom of heaven is indeed that which is manifested in the midst of the earth, and how the kingdom of heaven encompasses both heaven and the earth, as it is literally the manifestation of heaven and the will of the Father within and upon the earth. The kingdom of heaven was and is something that can be as small as a mustard seed, and yet it grows into something that is much larger and much greater than anything we could think or imagine. This is truly something we must needs realize and understand, for it can and will dramatically shift and alter our understanding of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth. The kingdom of heaven would indeed be found in the midst of the earth, and would encompass both the wicked and the righteous, as there would come and there is coming a day when the Son of man can and will separate the good and the wicked from within the earth—the good to everlasting life, and the wicked unto everlasting judgment and punishment. Oh that we would truly come face to face with just how vital and critical this is for our understanding of the kingdom of heaven, for the kingdom of heaven is that which is manifested within and upon the earth, and is something which Jesus would leave within and upon the earth—even after His departure from the earth and ascension unto the right hand of the Father in heaven. How absolutely remarkable and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the kingdom of heaven would be left within and left upon the earth and would not be brought with Jesus when and as He ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. Not only this, but the kingdom would be left in the hands of the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ, and would have in the midst of it the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

            As we continue thinking about and considering this reality concerning the kingdom of heaven we must needs journey to this particular chapter found within the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. What we find within this particular chapter in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew is indeed a powerful picture of the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son. Pause for a moment and truly think about and consider how absolutely incredible and awesome this truth really is, for while it is true the kingdom of heaven was indeed likened unto a field, unto a vineyard, and unto a harvest, it was also likened unto a wedding—and not only a wedding, but also an invitation that was given unto that wedding. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these words which Jesus spoke, for these words bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the kingdom of heaven is indeed likened unto a king who made a marriage for his son—and not only who made a marriage for his son, but extended an invitation to come unto the marriage feast and the marriage supper. We must needs recognize and understand this concept of marriage and the wedding feast and the wedding supper, for once more at the very heart of it we find the powerful truth of invitation. If there is  one thing we must needs realize and understand concerning the kingdom of heaven it’s that at the very heart and center of it is this wonderful and undeniable truth of invitation that is given unto many. Only a couple chapters earlier we find the invitation as that which was given unto men to work in the field and the vineyard, and now we see the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto an invitation that was given unto those who were bidden to come unto the marriage.

            THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AND THE POWER OF INVITATION! The more I delve into the parables which Jesus taught and spoke the more I am brought face to face with just how absolutely remarkable and astonishing they truly are. What’s more, is that as you continue reading in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will encounter and be brought to encounter the kingdom of heaven as being centered upon the power of invitation. Just a couple chapters prior to this one before us we find the power of invitation being given in the marketplace at different times during the day to come and work in the vineyard of the master. Jesus taught and spoke a parable that highlighted and underscored the power of invitation that was given unto those who were found standing idle in the marketplace, and those who were perhaps positioning themselves to gain work and employment for themselves. This is truly something unique and worth noting and pointing out, for it calls and draws our attention to the kingdom of heaven as not only being that which we are invited to enter into as laborers, but within the twenty-second chapter we see the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a marriage which we ourselves are being likened unto. With this parable before us we encounter and come face to face with Jesus once more teaching parables concerning the kingdom of heaven—this time, however, the parable would describe the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a king who would make a marriage for his son, and who would invite those who would come unto the wedding. Oh how absolutely and incredibly wonderful this truly is when you think about it, for it draws us into the truth concerning the kingdom of heaven and how the kingdom of heaven is indeed about a marriage that was formed and made by the King for His Son, and how that marriage extended beyond simply the uniting of the groom and the bride, but also extended into an invitation that was given unto those guests who were called to come unto the marriage and unto the wedding. What makes this truly interesting when you consider this is when you think about how in the New Testament Jesus is referred to as the bridegroom, and how the Church is referred to as the bride of Christ. In order to help illustrate this point even further, I feel it necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistles written unto the saints of Colossae and Ephesus, as well as the words which are found in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ:

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man every yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:22-33).

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this iw well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Colossians 3:18-25).

            “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the find linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:6-10).

            It is quite clear when reading the words which are found within these passages of Scripture that not only is the Church likened unto the bride of Christ, but also that there is coming a time when a great feast, a great marriage, a great supper is going to take place. That supper and that feast is known as the marriage supper of the Lamb, and it will consummate the union between the Lamb who is the bridegroom and the church who is the Bride. That which we find in the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints calls and draws our attention to the fact that the church is indeed and is in fact likened unto the bride, and how Jesus is indeed the bridegroom. What’s more, is the apostle Paul emphatically and boldly declares and proclaims that the bridegroom loved the bride and gave Himself for and unto the bride. Not only this, but the apostle Paul would also write how this bride was to be presented unto the Son as a glorious bride and as a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. Oh how absolutely incredible that the bride is to have the same nature as the Lamb had, for just as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world was to be without blemish, without spot, without sin, and without any defect, so also is the bride to have that same nature. WHEN THE BRIDE AND THE GROOM BECOME ONE! It’s actually quite unique to think about and consider this unity and bond which is shared between the bride and the groom—the union between the Church and Jesus the Christ—for just as Jesus was the sinless and spotless Lamb which took away the sins of the world, so also should the bride be without spot or wrinkle. What’s more, is that within this text we get the strong sense that the groom shares of Himself and shares of His nature before and unto the bride as just as the groom is without spot, without blemish, and without wrinkle, so also is the bride without spot or wrinkle. Oh we must needs realize and understand this particular truth and reality, for it truly does help us understand the nature of the bridegroom, as well as the nature of the church. The words which we find here in the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints by the apostle Paul are echoed in the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ, for within the book of Revelation we find and encounter the awesome truth that the bride is arrayed in fine linen which is the righteousness of God within and upon them.

            When I consider the parable which Jesus taught concerning the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a king who prepared a great wedding and marriage for his son, I can’t help but consider two distinct groups of people which are found within the parable. In fact, I would even dare state there are three distinct groups of people which are found within this parable—each of which we must needs consider and understand if we want to truly have a knowledge of that which Jesus is speaking. As you read the words which are found within this parable you will be brought face to face with the first group of people which are the servants who were sent by the king to call those which were bidden to come unto the wedding. This parable opens with the emphatic declaration that the kingdom of heaven is not only likened unto a marriage and a wedding, but is likened unto a king who made a great marriage for his son and invited those who were called and bidden to come. The first group of people we see and find within this parable are the servants of the king—those who were entrusted by the king to go out and call those who were invited unto the marriage for the son. Pause for a moment and before going any further within this parable—notice the distinct nature of the servants calling, and the servants calling those who were bidden. Notice within this parable that those whom the servants called were and had already been bidden, and yet had not yet been called because the time had not yet come. Stop and consider just how intriguing and captivating this truly is, for it is worth noting that there were those who were invited, and those who were bidden to come unto the marriage which the king had prepared and made ready for his son. Despite the fact that they were bidden, and despite the fact that they were invited, however, they had not yet been called. Within this particular parable we see a clear and present distinction between the invitation and the calling, for first came the invitation, and next came the calling. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for the two seem to be drastically different from each other, and yet intrinsically linked to each other.

            The parable which Jesus spoke before and unto those who were gathered before and unto Him was one that did in fact speak of the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a king who made ready and prepared a wedding for his Son. What makes this particular parable so incredibly unique and powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that within it—not only do we see the power of invitation, but we also see the power of calling and being called. It’s worth noting that those whom the servants of the king were sent to call to come unto the wedding were those who had already been bidden. Jesus is not clear within this parable how these were bidden, and how these were invited to come unto the marriage of the son, however, we must needs realize and understand that there would be the initial invitation, which would be followed up and proceeded by the actual calling. There were those who would be and those who had been invited to come unto the marriage which the king had prepared for his son, however, invitation alone wasn’t enough, for there would also be the calling, and there would be the responding. It’s worth noting and pointing out that the invitation in and of itself didn’t necessitate any type of response, for it was simply an invitation and an offer to come and partake in the celebration of the marriage which the king had prepared and made ready for his son. The invitation alone wasn’t enough for those who had received it to actually come unto the marriage, for at the time the invitation was given the marriage was not yet ready. What we must needs realize and understand when reading this parable is that although the invitation might have been given, and although there were those who were bidden to come unto the wedding—the wedding itself was not yet ready, and it was still in the process of being prepared. The actual calling to come unto the marriage would not come until all the preparations had been made, and until the marriage was actually ready for the guests to arrive. Oh that we would truly realize and understand just how absolutely incredible and powerful this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that the invitation is given upon the initial marriage proposal, however, the actual call to come unto the marriage wouldn’t be given until the bridegroom was ready to enter into that covenant and that union with the bride. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider how much time elapsed between the time the time of the invitation and the time of the calling.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this first group of individuals found within the parable, and how these individuals—the servants of the king—were sent to call all those who had been bidden to come unto the marriage. Oh they had received the invitation and they had indeed been bidden to come unto the wedding, however, they had not yet received the call to come unto the wedding. Once the call came to come unto the marriage which the king had prepared for the son, all those who had been bidden and were now called would be faced with the decision and choice whether or not they would actually respond to the call. It is true they were bidden to come unto the marriage which was prepared by the king for his son, however, once they were actually called by the king to come unto the wedding they were faced with the choice and the decision to actually come unto the wedding. It’s worth noting and pointing out when reading these words that when those who were bidden to come unto the wedding were called, they would not come. When the servants of the king came unto them to call them unto the marriage and wedding of his son, they would ignore, despise and reject the call to come, and would choose to remain where they were. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for those servants of the king to return to him and make him aware that those who were not only bidden, but those who were called would not come unto the wedding. Despite the fact they were called by the king to come unto the wedding they would not hearken unto the call, and they would deliberately and intentionally choose to remain where they were. What adds even more weight to this is when you think about and consider the fact that upon the king hearing how those who had been bidden and called would not come, he sent other servants to call those who had been bidden that they might come. This time we find the king adding an additional statement and declaration—namely, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.”

            BEHOLD, I HAVE PREPARED! ALL THINGS ARE READY! COME UNTO THE MARRIAGE! Pause for a moment and think about those three statements, and how absolutely remarkable these words actually were. When the king sent this second group of servants unto those who had been bidden he would not only declare that he had prepared that which was necessary for the wedding, but he also declared that all things were ready. THE PREPARATION & THE READINESS! When the king sent this second group of servants unto those who had been bidden—and not only those who had been bidden, but also those who had already been called once—the king would declare unto them how he had prepared all that was necessary, and how all things were now ready. The only thing that was needed for this marriage was the presence of the guests. The supper itself was ready, the bride was ready, the bridegroom was ready, and the king was ready, and yet the one thing that was still needed was the presence of the guests. The king would send out this second group of servants to call those who had been bidden, and those who had been called that they might come unto the marriage, and yet upon the word which these servants would bring—those who were bidden would make light of it and would go their own ways. What we find within this parable is the first group of individuals who were the servants of the king—those who would call the ones who had been invited and bidden to come unto the marriage. The second group of people are those who were actually bidden, and those who were actually called by the king to come unto the marriage which was prepared by the king. The second group that is found within this parable are those who were actually bidden and called by the king, and yet those who not only would not come, but would also make light of the invitation and the marriage itself, and those who would turn and go their own ways. There would be those who would be both invited and called to come unto the marriage which the king had prepared for his son, and yet despite the fact that they were invited and called, they would not come.

            What makes this parable truly remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it is when you discover the invitation, the calling, and the choosing. As you read the words which are found within this parable you will essentially encounter three distinct elements and three distinct realities which are found within it—namely, there would be those who were invited and called, and those who were chosen. The first group of individuals found within this parable were those who were invited and those who were called, while the second group of individuals were those who weren’t necessarily invited and bid to come unto the marriage, but those who were chosen. The underlying distinction that is found within this parable is that which highlights the difference between being called and being chosen. The first group of individuals found within this parable were those who were called by the king—and not only those who were called by the king, but those who were called by the servants of the king, and those who were even called by the son. What we find within this parable is that those who were called would not only make light of the servants calling them to come, and would not only return unto their own ways, but would also take the servants of the king, entreat them spitefully, and slew them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found within this parable, for it was one thing for those who were called to simply choose not to come unto the marriage which the king had prepared, however, it is something else entirely and altogether different when they would respond with violence, with brutality, and with force. It wasn’t enough for certain of those who made light of the invitation and would each go their own ways, for there would be others who would actually spitefully treat the servants whom the king sent, and slaughtered them. Stop for a moment and think about just how absolutely and utterly crazy this is, for not only were those who had been called choose not to come, and not only would they make light of it and go their own ways, but there would be a remnant of those who were called who would actually spitefully entreat and slaughter the servants of the king who had been sent to call them to come unto the wedding and marriage.

            When I read the words found in this parable I can’t help but be reminded of an Old Testament passage of Scripture when the king of Israel would offer kindness unto a new king who had emerged upon the throne after the death of his father. I am referring to David king of Israel who had a good relationship with one of the kings of the surrounding nations, and upon hearing of the king’s death and his son ascending to the throne David would send his servants to offer kindness and compassion unto this new king. Just as David had showed kindness unto this new king’s father, so also would he offer kindness to the son who was now ruling in the space and stead of his father. It’s almost similar to David seeking out any member of the house of Saul whom he might show kindness unto for the sake of Jonathan, and discovering how Jonathan had a son whose name was Mephibosheth. This Mephibosheth would be lame in both feet after a childhood accident would lave him permanently crippled and living in Lo-debar. David sought and desired to show this Mephibosheth kindness for the sake of Jonathan his father, and would invite him to eat at his own table, and be unto him as one of his own sons. Just as David would show kindness unto Mephibosheth, so also would David show kindness unto this new king because of the relationship David had with the father. It would be precisely because of the relationship David had with each of these fathers that would ultimately cause him extend kindness unto the next generation. It would be because of the relationship David had with the previous generation that would ultimately drive him to extend that kindness unto the next generation. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider this, for David would be a man of extraordinary kindness—and not only unto one generation, but unto the following generations. Consider if you will the following passage as it is found in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel:

            “And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, THinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? Hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their bears, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to mee them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your brears be grown, and then return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired thy Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ith-tob twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of ZOba, and of REhob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field” (2 Samuel 10:1-8).

            The words which we find in this particular passage are such that are actually quite remarkable when you truly take the time to think about them, for they call and draw our attention to an example and instance in the Old Testament with David king of Israel when he didn’t necessarily extend and offer an invitation to a marriage, but did indeed and did in fact attempt to shew kindness unto the son of a king who had showed unto him great kindness. What we find within this passage of Scripture, however, is this new king being manipulated and cajoled by his officials into thinking and believing that David’s actions were somehow malicious and were of ill-content. As a direct result of this, this king spitefully entreated the servants of David, shaved off half their beard, cut their garment from the front to the back, and sent them away humiliated and ashamed. What makes this particular narrative so incredible is when you consider the fact that immediately after the children of Ammon realized they had angered and offended the children of Israel they immediately mobilized twenty-three thousand men to engage in conflict and battle with David and the children of Israel. As if it weren’t bad enough they humiliated and spitefully entreated David’s servants—now they were adding insult to injury by hiring an army to engage in conflict and battle against the children of Israel. This is something which we must needs think about and consider, for it calls and draws our attention to what is found in the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the servants of the king who were not only spitefully treated, but were also slaughtered and killed by the remnant of those who had been called. This takes on an entirely different meaning when you think about and consider the fact that these servants of the king weren’t killed by enemies, nor were they killed by adversaries, but rather they were killed by those who were called to the wedding and marriage. It might even be said that the servants of the king were spitefully entreated and killed by those whom he might have considered friends and allies within the earth. How incredibly tragic it is to think and consider the fact that these servants were spitefully entreated and were killed—not by enemies and adversaries, but rather by those who were considered close enough to be invited to a wedding.

            FROM WEDDING TO WARFARE! Perhaps the single greatest truth that is found within this parable is how it begins with an invitation to come unto a wedding, and yet directly in the middle of the parable we find a shift to warfare. How incredibly unique and astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that there would indeed be those who would be called to come unto the wedding—not once, but twice—and that wedding invitation would eventually be transitioned into a place of warfare. Instead of the king being focused on the bride and the bridegroom he would temporarily alter his agenda to include battle. It should be worth noting that when reading the words which are found in this parable we find the king’s response to those who spitefully treated and killed his servants as being that of wroth and anger—and not only this, but the king would send forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers who had killed his servants. Not only this, but we also find the king burning the city of those who had murdered his servants after spitefully entreating them. We dare not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible this truly is, for within this parable we find a king transitioning from focusing on the wedding before him and his son to engaging in warfare against those who had slaughtered his servants. Within this parable we find the king shifting from the bride and the bridegroom to focusing his attention on engaging in battle against those murderers who raised themselves up against his servants to slaughter and put them to death. Taking this a step further we must needs realize and understand that those whom the king would put to death weren’t necessarily enemies and adversaries—at least not originally—for they were those who were invited to come unto the marriage and wedding prepared by the king. It’s truly something astonishing to see how those whom David would show kindness to would eventually transition themselves into enemies and adversaries and would be engaged in warfare, conflict and battle with Joab, David and the mighty men of Israel. Not only this, but it’s also incredibly interesting to think and consider how those who were invited and bid to come unto the wedding and marriage were subsequently destroyed by the king because of how they treated his servants.

            What makes the words written and recorded within this parable so astounding and unique is that it would begin with the king inviting those whom he would perhaps consider friends—possibly even allies—to the marriage of his son, and how not only would that invitation be scorned, but so also would  his servants be spitefully entreated, and put to death. As a direct result of the actions of those who were called to the wedding the king would send forth his armies to destroy those who murdered his servants, and to burn their city. It’s absolutely incredible to think about and consider this particular reality, for it calls and draws our attention—not only to the remnant who were called acting violently, and not only to the king responding with force as he would put them to death and burn their city, but we also find the portion of the parable where Jesus actually defines those who are chosen, and what it means to be chosen. After the king had sent his armies to destroy the murderers, and after the king had burned their city, he would declare unto them the wedding was ready, however, those who were bidden were not worthy. As a direct result of this the king would instruct these servants to go into the highways, and as many as they would find, they were to bid to the marriage. These servants obeyed the command and instruction of the king and went into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found. This would ultimately lead to the wedding itself being furnished with guests. What we see within this parable is a powerful distinction which Jesus Himself would make—a distinction between those who were called, and those who were chosen. The parable would initially begin with those who were called to come unto the wedding, and yet it would transition to those who were chosen to come unto the wedding. Those whom the servants would find in the highways would not be those who were originally called to come unto the wedding, but rather those who were specifically chosen by the servants when they went out into the highways.

            BURNING CITIES AND ENTERING HIGHWAYS! What makes this particular parable so incredibly unique and astounding is when you think about and consider the fact that the king didn’t send his armies to destroy the remnant of this city because they did not respond to his invitation. The king sent his armies to burn the city and to kill the remnant from the city because of their actions toward his servants. The actions of the people of this city mirrored the actions of Hanun king of the children of Ammon when he spitefully treated the servants of David and sent them back humiliated and ashamed. The narrative surrounding the life of David is actually something that warrants our consideration, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that what initially began as an act of kindness would eventually lead to an act of war between the children of Ammon, the children of Israel, and even the Syrians who were hired by Hanun king of the Ammonites. Pause for a moment and think about just how incredibly challenging this passage is, and how a single act of kindness could be misinterpreted and eventually and ultimate lead to war. In the parable which Jesus spoke on this particular occasion we find the king extending an act of kindness unto those who were bidden to come unto the wedding, and how they not only scorned and spurned the invitation and call, but they also responded by killing and putting to death the servants of the king. It would have been one thing for them to merely reject the invitation, for in another parable Jesus spoke we find individuals being invited to come unto a marriage and feast which was prepared, and how they each began making excuses as to why they could not come unto the wedding. As a direct result of these who were invited and called rejecting the invitation that one who had prepared the banquet would instruct his servants to go out into the highways and in the corners of the streets and invite as many as could be found. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for these parables were given by Jesus to teach men concerning the kingdom of heaven. Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven unto those who were bidden and called to a wedding, and yet those who not only rejected the invitation to come to the wedding, but those who also spitefully treated the servants of the king, and ultimately killed them.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we recognize those whom Jesus was referring to within the parables were not only the religious elite which were present during the days and time He walked, but also those among the Jews who would reject both Jesus, as well as His apostles and His followers. During the days of the prophets the priests, the people, and even kings were responsible for killing and putting to death the prophets and removing the prophetic voice, and during the days of the kingdom of heaven upon the earth we find John the Baptist being imprisoned and beheaded, we find Jesus being crucified and killed, we find Stephen being martyred, we find the apostles and the early Church persecuted, we find the apostles being martyred, and we find the Christians being persecuted, tortured, and put to death during the days of Nero who was the emperor of Rome. We must needs realize and understand that, for not only was there an initial rejection during the days in which Jesus walked upon the earth, but there was also a rejection during the days of the apostles, as well as during the days of the early Church. We must needs realize and understand just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it helps us to understand the parable which Jesus spoke. There would be another place where Jesus would speak of a king who would send his servants to reckon and call into account those who were entrusted with the vineyard, and how each time the servants were sent they would be spitefully treated, and even killed. Eventually the king sent his son thinking these people would reverence the son, however, upon seeing the son those who had lashed out against the servants of the king would persecute and kill the son. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand how powerful this picture is, for this picture is a powerful one that illustrates and demonstrates the kingdom of heaven and what the kingdom of heaven is indeed like within and upon the earth.

This particular parable which Jesus spoke is one that is truly captivating when you take the time to think about it, for it demonstrates the powerful truth concerning those who are called, and those who are chosen. It would be within this parable Jesus would once more declare that many are called, however, few are chosen. These words would be in direct alignment with the words Jesus would speak in the Sermon on the Mount when He would declare that there would be many who would come unto Him in that day, saying, “Lord, Lord,” and yet they would actually hear the words “Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity; I never knew you.” Moreover, these words would call and draw our attention to the truth which Jesus spoke and declared concerning the road to heaven being narrow and few who actually found that way, while the road and path to hell is wide and broad, and how there were many who would walk among that path and choose that road. We have a great need within our hearts and lives to truly understand this difference between being called and being chosen—and not only the difference between being called and chosen, but also the last being first and the first being last. We must needs realize and understand that one of the most powerful examples concerning many being called and chosen is in the Old Testament when Moses called on the children of Israel to see who was on the Lord’s side and who would enact the judgment of the Lord. Although all the children of Israel were called, it would only be the Levites who were chosen, for they would be the only ones who would respond to the call when it was given. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who are called and reject the sound and voice of that call, or whether we are those who heed, accept and respond to the voice of the call and are those who are chosen. The disciples were chosen—not only because they were called, but because they responded to the call. We are chosen—not only because we are called, but because we responded to the call. The most important question we can and must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who hear the call and those who respond to the call. Only to the degree and measure we hear and respond to the call when it is given are we truly those who are chosen, and those who will actually receive that which the King has indeed invited us to experience and enjoy.

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