First of all, let’s be clear. This parable is about the most common topic in Jesus’ teachings – salvation, or eternal life. In fact, a few chapters earlier he described the purpose of his ministry this way.
"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost". Mt. 18:11
If you think about it, nothing could be more important, right? That is why it is essential to understand what parables like these are saying.
The main point Jesus is making is that many who assume they will be saved, will not be (many called, few chosen). The Jews thought they would be saved because they supposedly were the chosen people and they knew the one true God. Jesus told them not very subtly that they were not worthy of the kingdom of Heaven and would be punished for hating and murdering the servants of God. Since the Jews rejected the Gospel, the door was opened for the Gentiles.
9Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as
you can find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and
gathered everyone they could find, both evil and good, and the wedding
hall was filled with guests.
This gives us a clue as to who the called are. Jesus said that if he would be lifted up, he would draw all men to himself (Jn. 12:32). All are invited, many are called, few are chosen. So this parable makes it clear that the called are the ones who show interest in the Gospel. They accept the invitation and show up.
As in the parable of the sower, the seeds land in different types of ground. Only in the good ground does it actually bring fruit leading to salvation. Jesus illustrated that point here as well.
11But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who
was not dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you
get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless.
13Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw
him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing
The man may have considered himself a believer, but he did not fulfill the requirements of entering into the kingdom Heaven. He had no defense because no one will have an excuse for not paying whatever price necessary to follow Christ. Romans 13:14 helps clarify what that means.
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
provision for the desires of the flesh. BSB
We can not be saved by our own works, or do things our way and expect to be saved. We must do things his way, shun the lusts of the flesh, and be clothed by his righteousness in order to be chosen by him.
Lest anyone think that this is just an isolated example, Jesus then proclaims this sobering warning to us all,
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Let us work diligently for the kingdom of heaven while it is still day so that we may be among the chosen few.