There’s a group. There’s a defined group of people that God, the Father, has given to Jesus Christ. The Father chose these people. He did not choose everyone. He chose some and not others to come under Jesus Christ. That’s the first thing we learn from the high priestly prayer.
This has the tendency to offend. First, it’s offensive that God would not include everyone. That usually gets people’s feathers ruffled up – that God would choose some and not others. Second, those being chosen do not control whether they’re chosen or not. If God is going to be a chooser, then we assume there’s some standard that he’ll weed the bad ones out and keep the good. What is that standard? How do you get chosen?
There is a process by which God chooses. But it’s really strange, it’s really unexpected – Jesus reveals a name. That’s how God chooses his people. Today, we call this Baptism. There, a name is revealed to you – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And not only is the name revealed but, in baptism, you also receive what that name does – it drowns a sinner. That’s what baptism does – it drowns a sinner. And brings up a chosen person who is completely free.
God goes by many names other than the one you receive in baptism. The other names he goes by are examples of what he does. We see this especially with Jesus Christ. Messiah. Savior. Prince of Peace. These things all point to what Jesus does. The Old Testament also had a way of doing this. One of the best ones (that shows up 200-some times in the Old Testament) is hesed. Mercy. God is Mercy. That’s the name that Christ reveals to the chosen -- hesed, mercy. God is merciful. Not God is wrath, Not God is Law. Not God is dictator. No, God is mercy.
Notice, the process to be chosen is not a binding one. It is not a checklist. It’s not a prescription. It does not put you under any obligation at all. It’s a simple revelation. Christ shows you something. He presents something to you – a name. That name is mercy.