So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Just prior to making His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and beginning the series of events that would end in His betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus makes this seemingly strange statement to His disciples. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” He first had demonstrated this truth to the disciples when He taught the parable of the laborers earlier in the chapter. In that parable He revealed that some serve the LORD for the reward that they will receive instead of because of the unconditional love of Christ they had experienced. Those that had worked in the vineyard the longest felt they should receive the greater reward based on length of service when in reality they received exactly what they had agreed to.
Those that had gone into the vineyard at the eleventh hour became first in honor because those that had labored in the vineyard the longest had an attitude that was revealed when they didn’t receive more than what they had agreed to.
One of Jesus’ purposes in walking the disciples through this series of events was to prepare them for His coming betrayal and crucifixion. Jesus’ was aware that the disciples would flee when the betrayal and subsequent events begin to take place and He was planting the truth in the disciples hearts so that later they would understand that He loved them even though He knew that they would forsake Him for a period of time during His betrayal and crucifixion.
Can we love someone enough, when they are betraying us, that it will cause them to later love Jesus enough to walk with Him even unto death as the disciples did after Jesus was gone?
The first shall be last and the last shall be first because the LORD sometimes uses those that come into the vineyard later to teach those that have been there the longest to love unconditionally.