The doctrine of election is a difficult one. It has been the subject of much controversy. Yet the idea that God chose Israel to be God’s special people is a basic understanding running through the Bible. God entered into covenant with Israel: I will be your God; you will be my people. However, what does it mean to be chosen by God? We would like to think that it means being given power, prosperity and priority above all other people, ensuring that we are triumphant and victorious in all that we do. To be chosen by God must mean that God loves us more than others. Wait a bit! God is love, and to be chosen by God is to be chosen to be, not only recipients of the divine love, but an extension of that love. It means to be the servant of God who gives of himself in love for the world. The Book of Isaiah introduces us to the image of Israel, the chosen people, being a suffering servant. Jesus took up this image and identified himself with it. As he represented Israel, he saw himself as God’s servant giving of himself for the sake of the world. That’s what love does. The above passage from Isaiah also indicates that the figure of the Suffering Servant is not only of one who sacrifices himself for the sake of Israel, he is given as a light to the nations that God’s salvation ‘may reach to the end of the earth’. To be chosen by God is to be called to be servants of the Servant God. To be chosen is to live for others and not just for ourselves.
- If you had to choose someone to build you a piece of furniture, what would you look for in making your choice?
- Why is God called a Servant God?
- How can we be an extension of God’s love?
- What does it mean to call Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29)?