In John 12:32 Jesus draws all men to Himself. Is this true or must we reinterpret Jesus to remove His promise?
John 12:32 (NASB) “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to Myself.”
Are all people drawn to Jesus? We know for sure that not all people come to Jesus because we know that not all will believe in Him. However, Jesus said that He WILL draw ALL men to Himself. So, what does Jesus mean in this context? Let’s lookout His words to understand His meaning.
In John 12:27 it states the purpose He came is for this hour so although He is troubled He will not ask to be saved from this hour.
John 12:27 (NASB) “Now My soul has become troubled: and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Jesus is speaking to a crowd of unbelievers (see verse 37). And in verse 30 Jesus says that the voice from heaven was for the benefit of this unbelieving crowd.
John 12:30 (NASB) Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.
John 12:37 (NASB) But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.
Jesus said that He came for this hour. Jesus came to die, yet so many of those who heard Him speak did not believe. They weren’t just not believing Jesus. They did not believe God the Father. Some say that their unbelief was what God predestined for them from all of eternity. But there is a problem with this view because of the words of Jesus. Jesus speaks about drawing all, not just some. If God did not desire for all to come to faith, then Jesus would never draw all. John 12:32 is a dividing line between the truth and error, but to some, it doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t seem to be true.
In my post on John 6:64-65, I showed how the reason Jesus gives for why no one can come to Him unless it has been granted him from the Father, is connected back to verse 64 and unbelief.
John 6:64 (NASB) “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
One of the comments on that post suggested that the connection was not between verse 65 and verse 64, but was between verse 65 and verse 63. Here is the comment that I am responding to in this post:
Sorry, I disagree. Jesus’ statement in verse 65 is referring to verse 63. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Verse 64 is simply a narrative of the unbelief of those hearing, because they had not been given life by the Spirit. Then Jesus says in verse 65, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
John 6:64-65 connection
Here is a screen shot of the sentence structure showing the emphasis.
The phrase between the x marks is called a counterpoint. The counterpoint points to the more important Sentence Point shown between the check marks.…
Jesus spoke incredibly powerful words in John chapter 6 that many people are afraid to dig into because of their concern that John 6 might contradict their theology. In fact, Calvinists are quick to challenge non-Calvinists to explain what these verses mean outside of the Calvinist interpretation. This post will engage that challenge because we believe God’s Word is the truth, and we refuse to ignore the text. What is the challenge that we face? John 6:43-45 is a very important passage that Calvinists use to attempt to prove that God only wants some saved and that only some are drawn by God. Because Calvinists believe that all God draws are raised to eternal life, they conclude that God only draws a select few who He has predetermined to save. However, these compelling verses in John chapter 6 are, in reality, a refutation of the standard Calvinist view when we look carefully at the inspired words and grammar. I invite you to take a journey with me into the intense words of Jesus in John 6:43-45 and I challenge you to believe what He said. This post is a detailed account of the specific language that Jesus spoke because Jesus’ words are profound. After we carefully consider each verse, I will provide a summary of the important points and questions for Calvinists to answer; both are at the bottom of this post. I trust that you will find this material thought provoking and that you will consider interacting with the material through our comment section. Please be respectful in your comments. Now let us deal head on with this significant passage.
Jesus responds to the grumblers
In the last post, we saw that the Jews were grumbling in unbelief because of Jesus’ claim that His origin was from Heaven. In response to the Jews, Jesus gives a command:
John 6:43 (NASB) Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.
Jesus rebukes the Jews for their grumbling and then He states the problem regarding an impossibility.
John 6:44 (NASB) “No onecan come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; …
Jesus said No one. The Greek term means none, not one. What is the thing that is a universal impossibility? No one can come to Me, Jesus said, unless… The word “can” is dynatai in the Greek. The BDAG lexicon in its short form shows dynatai means to be able or capable of doing something. (See screen shot below)
The extended meaning: to possess capability (whether because of personal or external factors) for experiencing or doing something.…
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.
If we are to believe Calvinism, we would have to conclude that God is a “dragger.” Calvinists are quick to point out that in John 6:44 the term “draw” actually means “drag” and this is what God does to His elect who, in their unregenerate state, are both unwilling and unable to respond to Him in faith.
Taking the Biblical test
Let’s have a close look at the word “draw” to see what it actually means.
If we look up the Greek term for the biblical usage of the word for “draw” we can see that the primary meaning is to “attract.” There are other meanings for draw when animals, clothing, judgment and mistreatment are the context. For example, the Greek word can mean to “haul” in a net, or to “stretch” a piece of cloth.
It can also mean to drag a person out for the purpose of punishment, mistreatment or judgment: