No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44
The reader who sent in this text, submitted it without a question attached, and apparently would like to have some general comments made on the text. This I am happy to do because it is such a crucially important text in the Gospel according to John.
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Last time we discussed part of the broad context in which these words of our Lord were spoken. The part of the context which we discussed was the miracle of the feeding of 5000 men, the miracles that followed, and the determination of the people to make Jesus their king.
That same determination of the people to make Jesus king was the chief motivation in their opening words when they met Jesus the next day in Capernaum (vss. 22-25).
Jesus, however, knew what was in their hearts, and He immediately brought the whole issue into the open when He accused them of a terribly wrong idea of His kingship. They were thinking of Jesus as an earthly king; He was not any such king in any sense of the word. His rebuke is sharp and pointed: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed" (26, 27).
As the conversation proceeded, two things became increasingly evident. One was that the people had no desire for the kind of King Jesus really was: not a kind who would fill their stomachs, but a King Who would die for their sins; and, therefore, not a King Who would give them earthly bread, but Who would give them His own body to eat and His own blood to drink.
The other fact that became evident was that the disciples of the Lord were deeply disappointed in the refusal of their Lord to seize the opportunity to become king. They thought also in terms of an earthly kingdom. They were as carnal and unspiritual as the people themselves. And they could not understand why Jesus deliberately antagonized the throng, and in this way deliberately spoiled any chances He might have had to become their king. How foolish of the Lord, they thought. He was driving away the people.
It was to this concern that the Lord addressed Himself in the words of verse 37: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." The Lord is saying, "You do not have to worry that I am deliberately doing things which make my work difficult, if not impossible. You do not have to worry that people will not come to me. All that the Father hath given me SHALL COME to me. Don't worry about that."
These are powerful words of the Lord.
All that the Father gives to Christ are the elect. They are given to Christ from all eternity. Here again is election in John's Gospel.
And thus the words mean: "Every elect shall come to me without fail."
But the words also mean: "None who are not elect will ever come to me." If people are offended at Jesus' words and go away (as the whole fickle multitude did [verse 66]), that is only because the Father never gave them to Christ.
And the disciples, who were also offended, did not go away only because they were given to Christ eternally. They had the opportunity. The Lord gave it to them: "Will ye also go away?" But they could not: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (67, 68).
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Why could Jesus be so sure that all whom the Father gave Him would come to Him?
The answer is found in verses 44, 45. The Father Himself draws them. Not only is election of God. Not only is it true that every elect comes to Christ. It is also true that they come because of the irresistible call.
That is the basic meaning of this text.
But more next time.
- Volume: 6
- Issue: 19
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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