Does God choose some people to come to faith and not others? In the Epistle reading for this week we have the following words from the Apostle Paul with regard to his fellow Israelites: “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” Paul longed for his fellow Jews to come to salvation through Jesus Christ; so why didn’t they? Why do some people come to faith and others not? Does God choose some and not others? Some Christians say that God chooses everyone but only some accept. At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says go into ALL nations, and by implication to ALL peoples, to baptize them. The Bible also says whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. John Wesley, the famous 18th century evangelist once said: “All people can be saved”. However, other Christians say that God chooses some people and not others. The Bible says that the believers are a ‘chosen people, a Royal Priesthood’ and elsewhere Jesus says to his followers, “for I chose you; you did not choose me.”
In the Old Testament reading for this week there is the story of Jacob who wrestled with (an angel of) God and earned the title ‘Israel’. Why did God choose the Israelites above all other nations? We don’t know. Neither do we know why most of their religious leaders rejected Jesus. In the Gospel passage for this week we read that Jesus healed many who were sick, but, clearly, he did not have enough time to heal everyone in Palestine at the time who was sick. Why did Jesus therefore choose the ones he did? We don’t know. The psalm appointed for this week is a psalm of David who did not ask why he was chosen. He simply had an unshakable faith in God and was able to declare: “As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” We should rejoice like David that we are chosen, and we should continue to witness to everyone we come across for they may be chosen too, we simply don’t know!
Old Testament reading for this week: Genesis 32:22-31
Gospel reading for this week: Matthew 14:13-21
Epistle reading for this week: Romans 9:1-5
Psalm for this week: Psalm 17:1-7, 15