No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)No man can come to me.—The subject is still the mystery of the varying effects of His revelation on the minds of men. These depend upon their present mental state, which is itself the result of acceptance of, or rejection of, divine influence. The Father which sent Him had, by law, and prophets, and worship, been preparing them. The history of each individual life had been a succession, in every conscious hour, of influences for good or for evil. The mind stood between these, and willed for one or other. He who day by day, with all his light and strength, however little that all might have been, had sought the pure, and true, and good—had sought really to know God—was drawn of God, and he only it was who could now come to Him whom God sent. Others were drawn of evil, because they had submitted themselves to its power. They had chosen darkness, and could not now see the light; they had bound themselves in the silken cords of sin, which had hardened into fetters of iron; they had lost themselves in the labyrinths of what they thought wisdom, and did not recognise the true and living way which was opened for them.
The word “draw” need not perplex us; and all the theories opposed to the width of divine love and influence, and to the freedom of human will and action, which have been built upon it, are at once seen to be without support, when we remember that the only other passage in the New Testament where it occurs in a moral sense is in the declaration: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).
1. Their improper regard for Moses, as if no one could be superior to him.
2. Their unwillingness to believe that Jesus, whom they knew to be the reputed son of a carpenter, should be superior to Moses.
3. The difficulty was explained by Jesus John 5:40 as consisting in the opposition of their will; and John 5:44 when he said that their love of honor prevented their believing on him. The difficulty in the case was not, therefore, a want of natural faculties, or of power to do their duty, but erroneous opinions, pride, obstinacy, self-conceit, and a deep-felt contempt for Jesus. The word cannot is often used to denote a strong and violent opposition of the will. Thus we say a man is so great a liar that he cannot speak the truth, or he is so profane that he cannot but swear. We mean by it that he is so wicked that while he has that disposition the other effects will follow, but we do not mean to say that he could not break off from the habit. Thus it is said Genesis 37:4 of the brethren of Joseph that they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. Thus Matthew 12:34, "How can ye, being evil, speak good things?" See Luke 14:33; 1 Samuel 16:2.
Come to me - The same as believe on me.
Draw him - This word is used here, evidently, to denote such an influence from God as to secure the result, or as to incline the mind to believe; yet the manner in which this is done is not determined by the use of the word. It is used in the New Testament six times. Once it is applied to a compulsory drawing of Paul and Silas to the market-place, Acts 16:19. Twice it is used to denote the drawing of a net, John 21:6, John 21:11. Once to the drawing of a sword John 18:10; and once in a sense similar to its use here John 12:32; "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." What is its meaning here must be determined by the facts about the sinner's conversion. See the notes at John 6:40. In the conversion of the sinner God enlightens the mind John 6:45, he inclines the will Psalm 110:3, and he influences the soul by motives, by just views of his law, by his love, his commands, and his threatenings; by a desire of happiness, and a consciousness of danger; by the Holy Spirit applying truth to the mind, and urging him to yield himself to the Saviour. So that, while God inclines him, and will have all the glory, man yields without compulsion; the obstacles are removed, and he becomes a willing servant of God.
except the Father which hath sent me—that is, the Father as the Sender of Me and to carry out the design of My mission.
draw him—by an internal and efficacious operation; though by all the means of rational conviction, and in a way altogether consonant to their moral nature (So 1:4; Jer 31:3; Ho 11:3, 4).
raise him up, &c.—(See on Joh 6:54).Luke 14:23, is to be understood, for the ministers of the gospel have no other power to compel); but in regard the drawing here mentioned is the act not of the servants, but of the Master; not of the ministers, but of the Father; it is more reasonably concluded that it here signifies a Divine power put forth upon the soul of man, by which it is made obedient to the heavenly call, and willing to close with the offer of Christ in the gospel; for though no such thing can necessarily be concluded from the word draw, yet it is easily concluded from the nature of the motion, in coming to Christ, which is the soul’s motion to a sublime, spiritual object, to which no soul hath any power of itself; such is the darkness of the human mind, the obstinacy of the will, the depravation of the affections, unless it be illuminated and drawn by the Spirit of God. No soul is able of itself to discern spiritual things, so as to see that goodness and excellency that is in them, much less to move towards the participation of them. John 6:35; for otherwise they could corporeally come to him, but not spiritually; because they had neither power nor will of themselves; being dead in trespasses and sins, and impotent to everything that is spiritual: and whilst men are in a state of unregeneracy, blindness, and darkness, they see no need of coming to Christ, nor anything in him worth coming for; they are prejudiced against him, and their hearts are set on other things; and besides, coming to Christ and believing in Christ being the same thing, it is certain faith is not of a man's self, it is the gift of God, and the operation of his Spirit; and therefore efficacious grace must be exerted to enable a soul to come to Christ; which is expressed in the following words,
except the Father which hath sent me, draw him: which is not to be understood of moral persuasion, or a being persuaded and prevailed upon to come to Christ by the consideration of the mighty works which God had done to justify that he was the true Messiah, but of the internal and powerful influence of the grace of God; for this act of drawing is something distinct from, and superior to, both doctrine and miracles. The Capernaites had heard the doctrine of Christ, which was taught with authority, and had seen his miracles, which were full proofs of his being the Messiah, and yet believed not, but murmured at his person and parentage. This gave occasion to Christ to observe to them, that something more than these was necessary to their coming to him, or savingly believing in him; even the powerful and efficacious grace of the Father in drawing: and if it be considered what men in conversion are drawn off "from" and "to", from their beloved lusts and darling righteousness; to look unto, and rely upon Christ alone for salvation; from that which was before so very agreeable, to that which, previous to this work, was so very disagreeable; to what else can this be ascribed, but to unfrustrable and insuperable grace? but though this act of drawing is an act of power, yet not of force; God in drawing of unwilling, makes willing in the day of his power: he enlightens the understanding, bends the will, gives an heart of flesh, sweetly allures by the power of his grace, and engages the soul to come to Christ, and give up itself to him; he draws with the bands of love. Drawing, though it supposes power and influence, yet not always coaction and force: music draws the ear, love the heart, and pleasure the mind. "Trahit sua quemque voluptas", says the poet. The Jews have a saying (t), that the proselytes, in the days of the Messiah, shall be all of them, , "proselytes drawn": that is, such as shall freely and voluntarily become proselytes, as those who are drawn by the Father are.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)44. draw him] It is the same word as is used John 12:32; ‘will draw all men unto Me.’ The word does not necessarily imply force, still less irresistible force, but merely attraction of some kind, some inducement to come. Comp. ‘with loving-kindness have I drawn thee’ (Jeremiah 31:3), and Virgil’s trahit sua quemque voluptas.John 6:44. Οὐδείς, no man) Jesus is wont, before that He removes error out of minds, to convict the perverse disposition itself of those who so err. This is His aim, John 6:44-46 : and at the same time, after having passed without notice that which was unseasonable in the interruption on the part of the Jews, and having stilled their murmuring John 6:43, He in continuation discusses those very truths, which He spake at John 6:40. Nor, however, does He omit to confirm His descent from heaven: He only does not reply to the question, How?—οὐδεὶς δύναται, no man can) The Jews were relying on their own powers: this Jesus refutes, and teaches them of the need of observing the drawing of the Father.—ἐλθεῖν πρός με, come to Me) To come to Christ, is, by faith to attain to and recognise His heavenly mission, and to commit one’s self to Him.—ἐὰν μή, unless [except]) He therefore doeth aright who cometh to Me, saith Jesus: for by the very fact of coming, He is following the drawing of the Father.—ἑλκύσῃ, shall have drawn) The Father hath sent the Son to us; and draws us to the Son, by the power of His love making us hear and see. See following ver., “Every man that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto Me;” and 65, “No man can come unto Me, except it were given him of My Father.” [It is one and the same thing, the expression which is used, to give us to the Son, or to give to us (grace) that we may come to the Son, John 6:39, “All which He hath given Me.”—V. g.] An instance of such a drawing is given in the case of Peter, John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life:” in the case of Paul, Galatians 1:15, “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace.” The same word occurs in the Septuag., Song of Solomon 1:4, εἵλκυσάν σε, [Engl. Vers.] “Draw me, we will run after Thee;” Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee” [in Septuag. ch. 38:3, εἵλκυσά σε εἰς οἰκτείρημα].
Two words for drawing are found in the New Testament, σύρω and ἑλκύω. The distinction is not habitually observed, and the meanings often overlap. Σύρω is originally to drag or trail along, as a garment or torn slippers. Both words are used of haling to justice. (See Acts 8:3; Acts 17:6; Acts 16:19) In Acts 14:19, συ.ρω, of dragging Paul's senseless body out of the city at Lystra. In John 21:6, John 21:8, John 21:11, both words of drawing the net. In John 18:10, ἑλκύω, of drawing Peter's sword. One distinction, however, is observed: σύρω is never used of Christ's attraction of men. See John 6:44; John 12:32. Ἑλκύω occurs only once outside of John's writings (Acts 16:19). Luther says on this passage: "The drawing is not like that of the executioner, who draws the thief up the ladder to the gallows; but it is a gracious allurement, such as that of the man whom everybody loves, and to whom everybody willingly goes."
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