To answer your good question, it is necessary that we go back to the beginning of Matthew, chapter 21. The Lord was entering Jerusalem for the last time. He was coming into the city to die for the sins of mankind. In verses 12-13, He entered the temple and cast out those who were buying and selling merchandise. The Lord then healed many people. The next day, the chief priests and elders challenged the Lord, asking Him by what authority He was doing these things. In response to their question, the Lord spoke three parables, showing these men that the nation of Israel had rejected Him and that He would reach out to the Gentiles with His saving grace. Matthew 22:14 is the final remark of the Lord in the third parable.

Matthew 22:2-24 is the parable of the wedding feast for the king’s son. As is normal, an invitation was sent out. We read in verses 2-3, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.” This corresponds with the work of the Lord Jesus while He was on the earth. He went about telling the nation of Israel that the kingdom was heaven was at hand. We read in Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This message was rejected, just as the invitation to the wedding was rejected.

So, another invitation was sent out. We read in verses 4-7, “Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, 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. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” This corresponds to the Gospel message going out to the nation of Israel AFTER the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, for at this time “ALL THINGS ARE READY.” Christ had died and made way for the salvation of sinful men. This time, men not only rejected the invitation, they also mistreated and killed the messengers. I encourage you to read Peter’s incredible sermon in Acts, chapter 2, where He condemns the Israelites for their crucifixion of the Lord, but also offers forgiveness to them through faith. He says in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This message was also rejected by the nation of Israel, as shown in the martyrdom of Stephen, a godly man who also spoke to Israel of their guilt. (Acts 6:8-7:60).

Back in Matthew 22, we see another invitation to the wedding going out. We read in verses 8-10, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but 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: and the wedding was furnished with guests.” This speaks of the bringing in of the Gentiles. They are described as those on “the highways, and as many as ye shall find.” Consider the words of Paul and Barnabas to a group of Jews in Acts 13:46, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Because the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, the Gospel went out to the Gentiles.

In Matthew 22:11-13, there is one who came to the wedding without wearing the proper wedding garments. Because of that, he was banished to “outer darkness.” In type, the ‘wedding garment’ is Christ himself. This man was one who ‘professed’ to be saved, but he was not ‘in Christ’. We find a true believer described in Isaiah 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

At the end of these three parables, the Lord says in Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” We can see from the three invitations that “many are called.” Especially and firstly, this refers to the Jewish nation who were invited first. However, many Gentiles have also been invited, or called. Obviously, the ‘chosen’ are part of those who are ‘called’. Not all those who are called are true believers, as shown in the man who did not have on the proper wedding garment. Indeed, many hear, but few believe! Outward profession does not always indicate inward acceptance. I will close with a quote from the writer, John Calvin, who wrote, “I enter no farther, at present, into the question about the eternal election of God; for the words of Christ mean nothing more than this, that the external profession of faith is not a sufficient proof that God will acknowledge as his people all who appear to have accepted of his invitation.” (277.2)