Are all who are drawn also all who come to Jesus?
In my last post, I showed that Scripture must not be taken out of context by making the word “draw” mean “drag” in John 6:44. However, if “draw” does not mean “drag” in John 6, what does “draw” mean within this inspired context? In this post let’s discuss what “draw” means, and whether everyone whom God draws, will eventually come to Jesus?
God’s own Witness
Immediately after Jesus gives the strong statement that no one can come to Him, unless the Father who sent Jesus draws that person, Jesus takes us into the Old Testament to understand the meaning of what He has just said. Let’s examine Jesus’ words very carefully. In John 6:45 Jesus said:
It is written…
These are powerful words. They are the same words that Jesus used to answer challenges from Satan, and from the religious Jews. “It is written” is a powerful appeal to what God has already said! Who is Jesus answering this time from the context of the “It is written” statement in John 6:45? If we look back at verses 41 and 42, we see the Jews grumbled about Jesus’ claim to be the bread that came down from Heaven. In verse 43 Jesus answered and “said to them” (the grumbling Jews). Jesus tells them not to grumble, and then Jesus gives an amazing revelation to them starting in verse 44.
John 6:44 is Jesus’ response to the grumbling of the Jews
John 6:44 (NASB) “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus said in John 6:38 that He is the one who had come down from Heaven, but the Jews did not believe Him. Jesus equates “coming” to Him with “believing” in Him. So when the Jews were grumbling against Jesus, they were not believing Him and not coming to Him in faith. Jesus makes it clear that no one can come to Him, no one can believe in Him, unless the Father draws him. Jesus answers the grumbling of the Jews by taking them to what God has already said. Jesus’ statement and His meaning will be confirmed by the witness of Scripture.
A Prophecy answers the Grumblers
In John 6:45, Jesus said “It is written” but where is it written?
…in the prophets
Jesus takes us back to the testimony of the prophets. What is it that the prophets give as from the LORD? Jesus continues with these words:
AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.
They shall ALL be TAUGHT of God. The drawing of the Father is answered by the Prophets as God’s teaching! Here is the original witness of the Old Testament.
Isaiah 54:13 (NASB) “All your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great.
God’s teaching is equated with food and drink, and the appeal is made for all to “come” and eat and drink. We find this in the next chapter of Isaiah.
Isaiah 55:1–3 (NASB)
1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
3 “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
Micah also gives a witness to the teaching of God.
Micah 4:2 (NASB) Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
What about Jesus? Did Jesus also “draw” by attracting people with His teaching? People were drawn to Jesus by the way He spoke.
John 7:46 (NASB) The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”
The officers declared that Jesus’ words were like no others. People were drawn to Him.
Matthew 7:28-29 (NASB)
28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;
29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
Jesus’ teaching was the teaching of an authority and this teaching amazed the crowds. Jesus attracted people to Himself through His teaching.
The united witness of Scripture is that God draws people through the power of words – through teaching. Just as God promised to teach all (Isaiah 54:13), so Jesus’ powerful words of teaching were used to draw people to Himself. But although His teaching was given for all, not all came to Jesus, and not all would accept His teaching.
Does God refuse to teach the religious Jews?
Jesus quoted the Old Testament record to show that God promised to teach all of them. But how is this an answer to the grumbling of the Jews? If God taught them, just as Jesus taught them, why were they not believing in Jesus? Was it God’s fault? Jesus lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of the guilty.
“…Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”
Jesus said “everyone”. Everyone, what? Does everyone come to Jesus? Not at all. There is a condition. Jesus said:
“…Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”
There is a response needed. Those who hear must take to heart what is taught. Those who learn from the Father will have the teaching change them. The Word is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword.
Why did the religious Jews not come to Jesus?
John 5:24 (NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
First of all, hearing and believing, or hearing and coming, are conditional on God giving out His word for without His revelation, no one could come. But hearing is not enough. Jesus said it is those who hear and believe, who receive life. Did the religious Jews hear God and then believe the Father so that they would have eternal life?
John 5:38 (NASB) “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.
Jesus did not say that these religious Jews did not have His word abiding in them, because God refused to draw them, teach them, or give His Word to them. Rather, the religious Jews did not have God’s Word abiding in them, because they refused to believe what God had already given to them.
John 5:25 (NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
The dead will “hear”, but it is the “hearing ones” who will live. The “hear” in the second clause, is a nominative substantival participle which renames the subject as befitting a noun. Thus the dead who will live, are the “hearing ones,” just as “whoever believes” in John 3:16 by the substantival participle, becomes “the believing ones.” The “hearing ones” are not hearers only, but the ones who actually do something with what they hear. They take what they have been given, and they believe. The religious Jews did not take what they had been given, by accepting and believing God’s word. They would not believe God!
Jesus also said:
John 5:44 (NASB) “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
The religious Jews refused to seek God. They refused to seek the glory that comes from God, and instead were seeking praise from man. They didn’t refuse to seek God because God had refused to draw them through His Word. They refused to seek God in spite of all that He had given them.
We can clearly see that not all come to Jesus. The refusal of the grumbling Jews to take what they had been given and their refusal to respond in faith is their own responsibility and not God’s fault. Like their ancestors who grumbled at the manna that was given for them to eat when they were in the wilderness, so the sons also grumbled at Jesus who claimed to be the real manna from God. Like their fathers before them, they grumbled at God when He Himself was their provider. God did not leave the Fathers without bread, just as He now freely gave the true Bread from Heaven, but they would not receive in order to believe. Their unwillingness to repent and believe assures them that they will not come to Jesus.
The question remains in John 6:44, who are the ones who are infallibly raised?
John 6:44 who is raised?
Are all those who are drawn, raised up? No! Consider this graphic:
Jesus is talking about the “comers.” He says that no one, not a single person, can come to Him without first being drawn by the Father. The drawing is the condition, not the subject. Jesus is also clearly saying that coming to Him is not initiated by those who come. The fact that they are able to come, is essential and dependent on the fact that they are first drawn. The comers (those who do come) must be drawn, and the comers will be raised up on the last day.
Drawn by the Father is a condition
The condition is how one comes to Jesus, not who is drawn. Jesus is not talking about all the drawn, but the comers. Thus it is consistent with the character of God, who is willing to teach all (all are drawn). It is also consistent with the character of God who is just, as He has declared that all who have heard and learned from the Father, will come to Jesus. It is important to note that the Bible never says that all those who are drawn, come to Jesus. It is the other way around. All who come are drawn. While the “coming” is dependent on the drawing, the drawing does not necessitate the coming. So Jesus’ answers to the grumbling Jews, is not a revelation that God unconditionally picks only a few to come to faith. Instead, Jesus’ words are a true revelation to the grumblers. Jesus revealed that God is the initiator of faith, by first drawing people, but that the failure to come is a failure of the grumblers themselves to respond to what God has freely given them. God is good to all, and those who refuse to believe God will have their mouths shut in the day of judgment. No one will be able to stand in the judgment by accusing God of withholding His drawing from them. No one will be able to accuse God of having created them without any intention of drawing them to truth.
Does coming, believing or the learning from God give us an opportunity to boast?
I will be addressing this issue in an upcoming post. There are several challenges that have been given to me that I will address first so watch this blog as I answer the challenges head on.
Thoughts, questions, challenges? You are welcome to post them here, but it would also be helpful to summarize the challenge and put it on my page called “Challenges.”
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to answer. Will you carefully consider what I have shared with you, the context of John 6:44 from God’s Word?