For Jesus, everyone is chosen.
We are used to “the chosen people” being a finite category, an exclusive category: that’s what the name means.
Israel was the original chosen people.
Perhaps we might also think of those who have fulfilled some religious formula to attain salvation as chosen.
We often act as though our particular corner of our particular denomination is chosen.
There is often a sense of those who achieve worldly success with money or fame as being chosen for greatness.
But Jesus chooses everyone, even and especially the rejects and outcasts.
To be chosen means to be special, to be set apart, and that specialness and singling out for attention remain even though Jesus’ choice is universal.
We read about it throughout scripture. Jeremiah talks about the experience of being chosen even before we can display any merit or even any personality when God says to him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
In Ephesians, Paul tells us that “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 4:23).
And Jesus tells us himself in the gospel of John, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16).
The woman in our story from the gospel of John today is considered anything but chosen by her society.
She has been pushed from pillar to post all over town by having a series of husbands, possibly by being widowed, possibly in other circumstances.
The honor/shame culture in which she lives has devalued her with each new partner until her current partner does not even bother to marry her. Continue reading