Short Meditations in John 6: 70. Chosen
Jn 6:70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
Up to verse 59 we had the talk of bread. From v.60 there is a to-and-fro about belief, and within that Jesus has pointed out that real believers only believe and follow him wholeheartedly when the Father enables them. We have considered the process that involves our surrender as the Spirit convicts us and subsequently indwells us.
Peter has just replied to Jesus’ question about will they also leave him, with a strong declaration of faith that encompassed each of that committed inner circle of believers. It is in response to that, that Jesus now responds with the simple affirmation that he had chosen them, the twelve, with the implication that that is why they are still there, why they have now withdrawn as some of the other apparent followers, apparent disciples, had done.
Previously Jesus (v.39) had spoken of the ones his Father had given him, and later on he will emphasise the closeness of the work of the Father and Son and its effects: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” We also see thus more fully in 17:2,7,9,24.
That is all about how the Father and Son work together but from our side what we need to understand is that our coming to Christ is because of his choosing. The apostle Paul was to catch something of this wonder when he wrote of the Father and Son’s work: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” (Eph 1:4)
Does this mean that the Godhead randomly chose those who would become followers? No, it is a case of them seeing into the future and knowing who would respond to Jesus when he came, and it was on the basis of that response that we would be redeemed. It was in that sense that we were ‘chosen’ before the creation of the world, and that then seen in practice when we lived on the earth, when the Spirit of God starts working in our lives, we respond, and are then born again – chosen by Him, chosen by Jesus, chosen by the Father.
The meaning of church – ekklesia in the Greek original – means the called-out ones, ones called by God. Jesus told a parable at the end of which he declared, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22:14 NKJV) The implication from the parable (see Mt 22:1-13) is that God calls (or ‘invites’ as the NIV has it) many people – everyone in fact, I believe, will hear God’s voice calling but many will choose not to respond to it. They were not, thus, the ones the Godhead saw before the foundation of the world who would respond to Jesus and thus they are not “the chosen” in the sense we have explained.