John 6:44 And Coming to Jesus
“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.” (Jn 6:44) KJV
What did Jesus mean when He said that no one could come to Him unless the Father would draw him? Does this mean that one must have some sort of compulsion within them before they come to Jesus? Does this refer to grace that cannot be resisted? What does it mean? It is this writer’s conviction that it means neither of the above, and that is why this paper is being written.
The first thing that one must do when studying the Scriptures is notice the context. Let us see what the context of this verse is.
“They said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 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. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:42-51) KJV
First of all, the Jewish people had asked Jesus to give them a sign that they might believe that He was indeed the Messiah. Jesus’ reply is that He is the bread sent from Heaven. Though Israel received bread from Heaven in Moses’ day, Moses did not give it to them. Neither was that bread the true bread. It simply pointed them to the true bread: Jesus. Implicit in Jesus’ words was the fact that Moses was not as great as He. Neither could Moses give what He could give: eternal life. Jesus tells them that He is the true bread from Heaven, and if they will believe He will give them eternal life. In fact, all who come to Christ, and all who believe on Jesus will always be satisfied with the life He gives. They will never hunger or thirst for eternal life again.
Many of the Jews present did not like what Jesus had to say. Because of this they murmured that they knew Him and His parents. They felt that Jesus was simply out of place and arrogant. Jesus’ reply to them is that they should not murmur. After all, no one could come to Him unless he was drawn of the Father. When He said this, He took the time to explain Himself and said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (Jn 6:45-47) KJV Jesus reminded the Jews of the New Covenant promise which was given through the prophet Jeremiah. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:31-34) KJV The order which the context gives us is that those who are taught of the Father come to Jesus. Who is taught of the Father? Those who have had their sins forgiven and the law of God written in the hearts and on their minds (See also Heb 8:10-12). In other words, those who come to Christ are the saints. The Father teaches them.
What is meant by the saints coming to Christ because they are being taught by the Father? Once again, the context tells us much about this. Many of the Jews were rejecting Jesus. Jesus Himself had told them that they were doing so because they had rejected Moses, i.e. the Scriptures (See Jn 5:39-47) They would not come to Christ for life. Why? Because they had not believed His Words. There were others, however, who did believe Moses. They did believe the Scriptures. They had already had their sins forgiven. They recognized Jesus as being the Messiah because they were taught of God. God drew them to Christ. Jesus said it would be those who were raised again at the last day. In other words, those who were believers would come to Jesus recognizing that He was the Messiah.
This coming of the saints to Christ was an common occurrence in His day. Simeon and Anna recognized Him even when He was a very small child (Luke 2:25-38). John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Messiah, announced Him to the people, and suddenly Peter, Andrew, Phillip, and Nathanael were following Him (Jn 1:29-51). Later Jesus would go to a couple more and call them. Thus we find James and John leaving their fishing trade to fish for men as followers of the Christ (See Mt 4:18-22). Why did they believe that Jesus was the Christ? Simeon had it revealed to Him by the Spirit. Peter had it revealed to Him by the Father (Mt 16:13-18), yet he actually heard that the Christ had come when his brother Andrew told him of Jesus. John the Baptist preached repentance. Andrew and Peter were among those who believed the Word of God through John. Andrew and Peter were taught of God/drawn by the Father, and thus they came to Jesus. Jesus later spoke of the saints recognizing Him in this fashion: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (Jn 10:1-5) KJV In other words, when Jesus came on the scene and began His ministry, there were those who were waiting for Him. They recognized Him, knew His voice, and followed/came to Him.
Later many of those who had followed Jesus murmured at His saying that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life (Jn 6:53-61). In fact, they were scandalized at His making that statement (Jn 6:61). It is then that Jesus reminds them of His saying that they could not come except they were drawn of the Father. “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
(Jn 6:61-65) KJV Jesus’ statement reminds them that their murmuring against Him demonstrated that they were not His own. Though they had read and heard the Scriptures, and had seen and heard John the Baptist, yet they had not believed. Their hearts weren’t right with God. Because of this, though some of them had probably followed Jesus for many days, many of them left upon His making this statement. Why? Because they weren’t believers, and they could not recognize Him as the Christ. The Father was not in them. Their hearts were not prepared to receive Jesus as the Messiah.
In the end of this chapter we find a wonderful confession by the apostle Peter. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Jn 6:67-69) KJV While others were scandalized and rejected Jesus, Peter and others whose hearts had been prepared by the Father embraced Jesus as the Messiah. They found Him to be the only one in whom they could trust.
Ultimately, as He spoke to the people in Jn 6:44,65, Jesus was telling those who were rejecting Him that they were outside of the New Covenant promise of the forgiving grace of God. He was telling them that they did not recognize Him because they did not know the Father. Not knowing the Father, they did not know the LORD when He appeared to them as the incarnate Son of God. In other words, recognizing Jesus Christ for who the Bible says that He is is characteristic of those who know Him. This fact is true even today. All true Christians love Jesus. John said, “ They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1Jn 4:5,6) KJV Peter also said, “It is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Pe 2:6-8) KJV Who is it the counts Jesus as dear and valuable? Those who believe do. Let us be sure that we are numbered among the lovers of Jesus. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor 16:22) KJV
While I am convinced that all of this is true and that this verse should not be interpreted as it is by many, we must not discount the fact that even today men must be drawn by the Father if they come to Christ. Paul spoke well when he said, “I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Cor 12:3) KJV Thankfully, the Spirit is in the world testifying of Jesus. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” (Jn 15:26-27) KJV “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (Jn 16:7-11) KJV The Spirit shows us that we are sinners and testifies to us of Jesus. Thus it is that the Father draws us unto Jesus. The blessed promise is that everyone who comes will be raised again at the last day. Let us pray that we will be effective instruments of the Father and the Spirit in drawing people to Christ.