Many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
The Good Shepherd
While western shepherds herd their flocks of sheep with sheepdogs, eastern shepherds use the distinct sound and simple call of their voice.
In Jesus’ days, sheep were very attuned to the voice of their shepherd. This gave multiple flocks the ability to mix in a pen overnight and separate in the morning. When different flocks commingled, occasionally a sheep from one flock might get mixed up or wander away (for a little while), but never indefinitely. Eventually, the lost and wandering sheep would hear its shepherd’s voice and come back into the flock. Or the shepherd would go out to find his lost sheep and bring it home safely.
This is what Jesus does for His children. For once we like sheep had all gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) and were lost. But Jesus called us, and we responded. We heard His voice, not by our own human intellect or merit, but by His grace. It's a gift to be able to recognize Jesus' voice and follow Him. We have been given the gifts of repentance and faith so that we may turn from our sins and trust in the Good Shepherd for eternal life.
Will Not & Cannot
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:3-5).
In this figure of speech, Jesus explains why so many will not respond to the gospel call. It's because they are not part of His flock. Therefore, they cannot respond. Furthermore, they cannot respond because they will not respond.
In John Chapter 8, Jesus says to the religious, self-righteous Pharisees, 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me...47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Truth is Foreign to Many
Simply put, the Pharisees don't believe Jesus because they don’t belong to Him. The truth sounds foreign to them because their nature is to believe lies. Even though they profess God to be their Father, in reality, they belong to another father. They belong to Satan, the Father of Lies. In this world, there are only two kingdoms, two families, and two roads. There’s the Kingdom of Light with the children of light traveling on the narrow road, and there’s the Kingdom of Darkness with the children of wrath traveling down the broad road. There is no middle road, no grey area, and truth has always been in the minority. (See Matthew 7:13-14 below) Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters (Matthew 12:30).
Those who will not respond to the gospel call are spiritually blind but proudly think they can see. (See John 9:39). They are both self-deceived by their own pride and doubly blinded by the deceptive world system, devised by Satan. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). Both their unwillingness and inability to respond prove their hardness of heart (John 12:40).
God's Sovereignty & Our Responsibility
Furthermore, only God can give sight to the blind and soften hearts through the saving knowledge of Jesus. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). God is sovereign, yet we aren’t robots! We have our human responsibility to open our Bibles and obey God’s commanded will. The more we read God's word, the more we will know His will. And we know that His will begins with obeying the command to repent and believe on His Son Jesus. God’s divine sovereignty and our human responsibility are two truths that run parallel to heaven. They cannot be intellectually harmonized on this side of eternity. They both are true!
Many Are Called
Jesus says, Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). In this verse, the call is extended to all who hear the saving gospel message. Many hear it. Few respond. Those who respond are the "chosen," or God's elect, which He chose before the foundation of the world and predestined for adoption to be His children (Ephesians 1:4-5). Matthew 22:14 expresses the balance between human responsibility and divine sovereignty. The "called," who reject the gospel invitation, do so willingly. Therefore, there is zero injustice in God for their exclusion from the Kingdom. The "chosen" enter God's kingdom only because of the grace of God in choosing them and drawing them to eternal life.
We Don't Want Fair, We Want Mercy
Whenever we say that God isn't fair in electing some and not others, we don't want fair. Fair would be sending us all to hell. What we want is mercy. Scripture says, God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. (Romans 9:18). It's a sobering truth, and one that I have wrestled a lot with. But in the end, it's what the Bible says, and it's just the way the chips fall (in His perfect justice, for His purposes, and all for His glory). But praise the Lord, we serve a merciful God! We can go to a loving God and beg Him to open the eyes of the blind to the light of Jesus. We serve a merciful God who hears every prayer and tear we cry. What a comfort that is! Prayer is part of God's sovereign plan in saving His people. That's so beautiful to me.
With all that being said, if you truly follow Jesus, you won the Lottery of all lotteries, my friend. You have the Peace that surpasses all understanding. You possess the Joy of all joys. Your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. AMEN.
His Sheep Hear His Voice
Those who belong to Jesus hear His voice. They recognize His voice and obey His call, by His grace. As believers, while we are attuned to Jesus’ voice, we will at the same time run away from the voice of a stranger. False teaching to a believer sounds like sour notes on a piano because our ears are attuned to biblical truth, by the Holy Spirit. The only way to detect and reject lies is to know and love the Truth, by being in the word and praying daily in heartfelt devotion. True sheep may fall into false teaching for a season, but eventually, the Holy Spirit will always guide a lost sheep out of counterfeit Christianity and away from false gospels and new-age jesuses, and back to the biblical Jesus; back to the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep on the cross and rose again, that by grace through faith in Jesus, we may have eternal life!
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; Isaiah 40:11