Short Meditations in John 6: 37. The Father’s Work
Jn 6:37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
The danger of meditating on individual verses is that it is so easy to lose a sense of the overall picture. The flow here is that the people in the crowd ask for the bread Jesus has spoken about (v.34). Jesus then spoke about himself as the bread of life (v.35) but declared that he knows they are not believing him (v.36). He then puts that into the bigger context of this present verse.
The first thing he is saying is that the reality is that people will not believe in him and come to him unless the Father (God) draws them, people whose hearts have been prepared and are receptive. Becoming a follower of Jesus (a Christian) is, first and last, a work of God. He (the Holy Spirit) convicts the individual and when they respond to Him with repentance He indwells them, God having justified them and then adopted them into His family. Our bit, the bit in the middle, is simply to surrender to Him and repent and seek His forgiveness. The rest is His activity.
There appears within this a sense of peace over who comes and who doesn’t, and perhaps we should rest in this ourselves, for there may be those we would like to see come to Christ – and we can certainly pray for them – but ultimately it is a work of God, a work that He brings to bear, I believe, on those He sees will be open to Him. Who that is always remains a mystery, but it should never take away our sense of optimism, that this one we have been sharing with and praying for, may yet turn and be born again.
Our part, seen in this verse, is seen in the words, “will come to me” and “whoever comes to me…” There is a significance in this which should not be missed. I recently was in a service where at the end a man responded to what had been going on and joyfully said, “I have found God in this service,” and I couldn’t help feeling, no you’ve been pointed in the right direction but we need to introduce you to Jesus. ‘Coming to God’ is one thing but unless our seeker is introduced to Jesus and told that Jesus is his/her saviour who died for their sins, that initial excitement will go nowhere and will simply be dissipated and will result in a nominal church-going, not a transformed life.
For the person with the weak conscience or low self-esteem, Jesus affirmation that, “I will never drive away,” must come as a great assurance. Somebody said to me the other day, ”But I’m not worthy,” and I had to agree but added, “None of us is, but He makes us worthy by receiving us, accepting us then changing and transforming us, but that is a lifelong exercise.” He will not push you away, whatever.