“No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws them...” ~JESUS in John 6:44
This has long been one of those slightly unsettling verses for me. It sounds as if God chooses to draw some people to Himself, but not everybody–only some. Now God is God, and so God can do whatever God chooses, therefore, I am not going to pretend to sway God over to my puny thinking. Yet, thanks to my solid Bible-study Baptist upbringing, I was always taught to “compare Scripture with Scripture.” And that’s where some of the rub comes in I suppose. A God who wills some to come to Him, but not others, doesn’t seem to jive with the tenor of the New Testament where we see that God does not want any to perish, but for all to come to Him, to the eternal kind of Life (2 Peter 3:9).
Meditating upon this verse, I received another view of it which I trust and hope was from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps an aspect which John the Evangelist was intending to communicate, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is that if it is something other than the Father which draws us, therefore something less than God, then we will not come to Jesus.
We will gravitate toward whatever it is that we’re actually drawn to.
For example, if you’re drawn merely by an eloquent speaker, then you are drawn to that speaker, who is not God. Or you might be drawn by a social justice cause. That is a good thing, but it is not THE THING. You will pour energy into that cause, maybe even for Jesus, but still not genuinely come to Jesus. You can be drawn by a great community of people, or the beautiful worship music and style of a particular church, but if you’re not drawn to the Father, then you will not come to Jesus and experience true salvation for your soul, or participate in Yahweh’s Spirit-powered Kingdom Life.
Now, we must state the obvious–God the Father can use whatever means He chooses to draw us to Himself–preachers, causes, music, churches, billboards, etc. And this happens every day. We have a good friend who was authentically drawn to God via one of those old school Bible tracts. Don’t think for a second that God can’t use those! What we’re saying, as a caution, is to make sure you check yourself to see what you’re actually captivated by. At the end, it must be God Himself, for God’s sake alone (see Mt.7:21-23 for one of the scariest passages in the Bible). So many times we’re taken up with an experience or a person or an event or an author, and we may think we’re drawn to God, but in actuality, we’re only drawn to that creature or created thing–which is a far cry from the Creator, from being filled with the only One who has all authority.
Therefore, I have to wonder if John had this thought at least partially in mind when writing this passage–to be a sort of litmus test; for if we’re truly drawn to God, we will see the light which is Jesus, the exact imprint and reflection of the Father, and submit to Him. In the context of our verse above, this was around a time when many were leaving Jesus. And not just peripheral followers, but disciples were leaving Jesus. Some were just there for the miracles, some for free bread, and thankfully a few were drawn by God Himself and stayed.