"For many are called, but few are chosen."

What did Jesus mean by this? Some might understand it to mean exclusiveness. Out of all only some receive the privilege of entering God's Kingdom. But this does not seem to agree with John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life..."

The context of this verse is the parable of the wedding banquet:

Matthew 22:2-13
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son. The king invited some people to the feast. When the feast was ready, the king sent his servants to tell the people, but they refused to come.
Then the king sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited that my feast is ready. I have killed my best bulls and calves for the dinner, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast. But the people refused to listen to the servants and left to do other things. One went to work in his field, and another went to his business. Some of the other people grabbed the servants, beat them, and killed them.
 The king was furious and sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their city.
After that, the king said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready. I invited those people, but they were not worthy to come. So go to the street corners and invite everyone you find to come to my feast.’ So the servants went into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man who was not dressed for a wedding. The king said, ‘Friend, how were you allowed to come in here? You are not dressed for a wedding.’ But the man said nothing. So the king told some servants, ‘Tie this man’s hands and feet. Throw him out into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.’"

God calls us all to a place in his kingdom but we have to accept the invitation. Many people's response to God is one of refusal. Why? We prefer to ignore God because we think he will interfere with what we want for our lives. We convince ourselves that he's not there or that he doesn't matter. We go about our daily lives doing our own things, heads down and not daring to look up just in case we catch a glimpse and have to respond. Being indifferent to God is not an option and so what happens when we are challenged? We react with hostility ranging from mild irritation to the rantings of someone like Richard Dawkins or the polite but poisonous rhetoric of Stephen Fry.

The invitation is there to all and whoever responds will enter. Not to respond results in destruction and ruin and even without the invitation we are all on that path anyway. But and it's a big but. We cannot respond on our own terms, only God's. We have to be dressed appropriately because of ourselves we are naked. There are no 'good' people in the Kingdom of God only saved people. Someone once said of Christians: "We are not a perfect people but we are a pardoned people."

Doing good and right deeds will not get us into the kingdom, as the man in the parable found to his cost. The clothes we need were purchased for us at a great cost and they are the clothes of righteousness bought by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. The only good man who was worth it took our worthlessness and made us worthy!

So, many are invited but sadly, few respond and take their place with the chosen. The invitation still stands but for how long?