A significant election is quickly approaching. A candidate will be chosen to hold the highest office in our nation. As a result, media is saturated with candidates promoting themselves, interviewing with journalists, and debating opponents all insisting and entreating the voter; choose me. Candidates solicit the voter’s approval by making promises to their supporters and strategically gathering endorsements to reinforce their campaign. Every action, every endorsement, every promise, everything they do is done with the hope of being chosen.
Our God does not approach us as a candidate looking for our vote. Scripture is not God’s campaign plan—the Scriptures do not inform us to make a better choice and learn to choose God. Rather, they tell us how in Christ, God has chosen us.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:15-16)
Jesus overturns the thinking of the world. He does not seek to be accepted and chosen by us, rather, He does the choosing Himself. Martin Luther commenting on John 15 writes, “[The world] cannot refrain from reversing the words of our text and saying in fact: “I do not want to be chosen by God, but I want to anticipate Him and choose Him.” But God can and will never tolerate this; He reverses the order and declares: “You cannot and shall not choose Me, but I must choose you.”
Jesus was known as the “friend of tax collectors and sinners.” (Matthew 11:19) His reputation grew as One who befriended sinners. Those who least deserved and least expected His friendship were sought out and befriended by Him. It seems like, from the Gospel accounts, if there was any prerequisite to be a friend of Jesus, it was to be a sinner. Those who did not choose God are actually the ones He has chosen and loves.
Jesus did not come to us as a candidate setting up His campaign trail. He comes as The Good Shepherd running after and laying His life down for His lost sheep. We did not find Him, He found us and gave His life for us. Wherever the sheep have wandered, there the Good Shepherd is present bringing them back.
We are not the choosers, we are the chosen. Jesus says of us that, “You did not choose me” but follows it up immediately with “but I chose you.” Martin Luther continues, “You hear Christ say: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” He refuses to grant that He was chosen by you. All Scripture reproves and condemns any choosing on our part before and without God’s commandment”
The gospel is not found in our choosing, it is found in being chosen by God in Christ. Jesus does not wait for us to come to Him. He runs after and befriends us despite our aversion to Him. Jesus refuses to be passive in His relationship to us. We are the objects of His love, His friendship, His redemptive work, and His gifts. God has chosen us in Christ and gives us everything that belongs to Him, all His love and righteousness is ours.
Paul Gerhardt beautifully writes in one of his hymns:
Nothing and no one can separate me from the love of my Heavenly Friend who has befriended and chosen me.
The apostle John stated the purpose for his Gospel account (and all of Scripture) when he wrote, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31) The good news of the gospel is that it lies outside of me, I just receive it through faith. When I did not choose God, God befriended me and gave me life. While I was dead in sin, Christ gave Himself for me. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) My faith is not in my decision or ability to choose God, but that in Christ, God has already and forever chosen me as His child.
Kathy graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a B.A. in Media Design. She is currently a writing contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and Coffee by Gillespie, as well as a freelance graphic designer. She is the co-author of The Sinner/Saint Lenten Devotional from 1517 Publishing.